Good news! The 350-page report and additional materials reviewing the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar have been submitted to FIFA’s Adjudicatory Chamber, according to a FIFA news release. And now for the bad news: The public will most likely never see it.
The report, led by U.S. lawyer Michael Garcia with help from Swiss attorney Cornel Borbely, was originally supposed to be made public in July, but after the World Cup and associated tardiness delayed the filing of the report until September, FIFA changed its tune on who would get to see what. Now, it is FIFA’s Adjudicatory Chamber that will get to decide whether the public gets to see the report or not, and most soccer aficionados are not optimistic.
How could FIFA not publish Garcia report? Because they think the game belongs to them and not the football public.
— Simon Evans (@sgevans) September 5, 2014
Garcia’s report, highlighting the lack of transparency in FIFA, won’t be available to the public. Y’know, in the interest of transparency.
— Zack Goldman (@ThatDamnYank) September 5, 2014
Michael Garcia has delivered 350 page report on 2018/2022 bids to Fifa ethics committee, based on 200,000 pages of evidence you’ll never see
— Heidi Blake (@heidiblakeST) September 5, 2014
That said, it’s unclear whether the report offers much in the way of revelations that the public hasn’t heard already, specifically regarding the evidence suggesting widespread bribery led to Qatar winning the 2022 bid that the London Sunday Times broke this summer.
“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 in a statement (via the Associated Press).
Have been told for a while not to expect any smoking guns in Garcia Report that would cause Qatar or Russia to lose World Cup hosting rights — Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) September 5, 2014
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has been adamant about keeping the World Cup in both Russia and Qatar despite various calls for it to be moved. The latest call either a boycott or a change in venue came this week from European Union diplomats who want to use the tournament as a bargaining chip with Russia to quell the country’s incursions into neighboring Ukraine.
Blatter has long insinuated, though, that only he and his executive committee — and not FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert or the Adjudicatory Chamber — could change the hosting decision, the AP reports, so even if widespread, reprehensible violations were found in the report, it would not necessarily mean the tournament would be stripped from either nation.
So what can the Adjudicatory Chamber do? It could levy sanctions on any and all of the nine bid candidates (Russia, Qatar, England, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States), their staffers and other officials connected to FIFA in 2010, the year Russia and Qatar were awarded their World Cups.
Eckert and the Adjudicatory Chamber are expected to make their decision in the coming weeks.