You know things are bad in the FIFA house when even the normally vocal Sepp Blatter is keeping a ‘dignified’ silence.
In retrospect, it was probably too much to expect FIFA to get its act together and publish a full and thorough review of Michael Garcia’s report into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. In the end, FIFA outdid itself in its spectacularly huge farce.
We all know the story by now. Michael Garcia submitted his report on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process to German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert. Eckert then produced a 42-page summary listing his findings of Garcia’s report. The Russian and Qatari bids were cleared of any major wrongdoing whilst the English and Australian football associations were heavily criticized. Seemingly, the English FA (who cooperated with the investigation) was the most damningly judged whilst the Spanish/Portuguese bid was not mentioned as members from the latter group did not aid Garcia’s investigation at all.
There was an outcry over the judgment with terms like ‘whitewash’ being one of the more popular descriptions of Eckert’s summary. Even Garcia distanced himself from the summary stating that there were “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts”.
In fact, only the Netherlands/Belgium 2018 bid was completely cleared of any wrong doing.
Demands for Michael Garcia’s full report to be made public have grown since Eckert’s summary was released. Jeffrey Webb and Jim Boyce, who are part of FIFA’s executive committee, have called for Garcia’s report to be published as has FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne.
One of the more extreme suggestions has come from the President of the German Football League, Dr. Reinhard Rauball. He warned that if Garcia’s report is not released to the public, then UEFA could withdraw from FIFA. He told German website kicker.de:
“The result was a breakdown in communication, and it has shaken the foundations of FIFA in a way I’ve never experienced before. As a solution, two things must happen. Not only must the decision of the ethics committee be published, but Mr. Garcia’s bill of indictment too, so it becomes clear what the charges were and how they were judged. Additionally, the areas that were not evaluated (in the report) and whether that was justified (should be published). It must be made public. That is the only way FIFA can deal with the complete loss of credibility.”
He warned of the consequences if FIFA decided to dig in their heels: