Investigator sends reports on alleged World Cup bid corruption to FIFA

The awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar has led to an ethics probe over bid process.FADI AL-ASSAAD/REUTERS The awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar has led to an ethics probe over bid process.

The dirty secrets of soccer are beginning to dribble out.

The sport’s governing body, FIFA, announced on Friday that it had received three ethics reports from investigator Michael Garcia, theformer U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and his deputy regarding alleged corruption in the bidding process for the rights to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The main report, which has not yet been made public, runs to 350 pages and is based on more than 200,000 pages of material and interviews with 75 witnesses, FIFA said in its announcement.

“The report sets forth detailed factual findings; reaches conclusions concerning further action with respect to certain individuals; identifies issues to be referred to other FIFA committees; and makes recommendations for future bidding processes,” FIFA said.

The Switzerland-based organization will likely face intense pressure to make the reports public, to discipline members who committed wrongdoing, and to institute reforms in what is already seen as a corrupt process.

Nearly four years have passed since FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced that the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments would take place in Russia and Qatar, respectably. Qatar’s victory was especially startling, given the small desert country’s limited soccer tradition and problematic summer heat.

Allegations of bribery and collusion forced FIFA’s ethics committee to commission a year-long probe by Garcia and his deputy, Cornel Borbély of Switzerland.

News reports have focused the most suspicion on Qatar’s bid, with several British newspapers outlining claims that the country’s World Cup bid committee secured blocks of votes through cash payments through a powerful FIFA figure from Trinidad and Tobago, Jack Warner, who has denied wrongdoing.

Warner’s son, Daryan Warner, is reported to be cooperating with authorities in Miami regarding corruption issues.

Relocating the 2018 tournament would be nearly impossible, but there remains a chance the 2022 World Cup could find a new home. Such a move would be unprecedented and would involve tremendous financial repercussions for the sport.

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