US lawyer Michael Garcia has resigned from his position with FIFA, 24 hours after the governing body dismissed his complaint regarding the handling of his investigation into World Cup corruption.
Garcia’s findings – which he detailed in a 430-page investigation – were released as a 42-page summary by FIFA-appointed independent judge Hans-Joachim Eckert in mid-November.
Immediately following the announcement, the investigator declared that the summary of his 18-month investigation into corruption surrounding the World Cup bidding process for Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 contained “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed in the Investigatory Chamber’s report.”
Garcia filed a compliant with the world’s governing body of football. But yesterday FIFA ruled the investigator’s claims were “not admissible”. In a statement, FIFA said judge Hans-Joachim Eckert’s summary in November was “neither legally binding nor appealable.”
Today, Garcia cited a “lack of leadership” at the top of FIFA in a resignation statement made available to the press. The former New York district attorney went on to say that he has lost confidence in the independence of his ethics committee colleague, Hans-Joachim Eckert, and believes that the German judge misrepresented his work.
“The Eckert Decision made me lost confidence in the independence of the Adjudicatory Chamber, (but) it is the lack of leadership on these issues within FIFA that leads me to conclude that my role in this process is at an end,” Garcia wrote.
“For the first two years…I felt that the ethics committee was making real progress in advancing ethics enforcement at FIFA,” the lawyer continued. “In recent months, that changed.”
The investigator’s complete findings will continue to be kept sealed against his wishes by stritct FIFA Code of Ethics rules. It appears that the public will have to rely solely on the summary provided by Hans-Joachim Eckert.
Garcia went on to elaborate his thoughts on the 42-page summary of his 18-month investigation into corruption, and he confessed that it appears – for now – that he has lost his battle to have all the facts revealed to the public.
“When viewed in the context of the report it purported to summarize, no principled approach could justify the Eckert Decision’s edits, omissions, and additions.”
“It now appears that, at least for the foreseeable future, the Eckert Decision will stand as the final word on the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup bidding process.”
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