FIFA’s anti-corruption panel says it’s important to give “a convincing and transparent answer” to allegations about Qatar’s controversial selection as 2022 World Cup host.
The panel chaired by Swiss law professor Mark Pieth gave its full support to a FIFA investigation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes, led by ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia.
“The ethics committee should not rest until there is a conclusive answer,” Pieth wrote in a report to FIFA board members, some of whom agitated last month to remove Garcia from the case.
“If FIFA is to emerge from the scandals of recent years it must now produce a convincing and transparent answer to any issues relating to hosting decisions, either to confirm that the suspicions are, sadly, well founded or to demonstrate that they are groundless,” the report said.
After FIFA President Sepp Blatter promised to reform FIFA in 2011, the board appointed Pieth to lead the independent governance committee advisory group which insisted on creating an independent ethics court to tackle corruption.
“This explicitly included allegations in relation to World Cup hosting decisions and the IGC singled out this issue including the decision to award the tournament to Qatar as one that required further investigation,” Pieth wrote.
Garcia’s position has come under scrutiny in recent months with some FIFA exco members calling for his removal. However, the former US Attorney retains the full support of Pieth.
“The IGC’s view was that only appointing a competent and experienced professional outsider to this role would enable FIFA fearlessly to investigate allegations of corruption at the heart of FIFA,” Pieth said.
“FIFA and all involved individuals must therefore fully and unconditionally cooperate with Mr. Garcia’s investigation.”
Garcia reportedly upset some members of the FIFA exco by arriving unannounced in Zurich to question them during a week of committee meetings.
The cheek of the man!