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SBD Global/October 9, 2013/International Football

FIFA Investigators To Meet World Cup Bidders In Possible Ethics Violations Probe

FIFA investigators will meet with every country that bid for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups "as part of a probe into possible violations of FIFA's code of ethics," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Former U.S. Attorney for N.Y. Michael Garcia is leading the inquiry, "but Cornel Borbely will take over areas involving Russian and American bids for the events to avoid a conflict of interest for Garcia," according to an emailed statement from his law firm, Kirkland & Ellis LLP. The investigatory panel said in the statement, "Our role, in this or any other matter, is to investigate potential violations of the FIFA Code of Ethics. We will consider any allegations and evidence indicative of such violations, and we urge anyone with potentially relevant information to contact us now." The panal said the probe into the award of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the '22 event to Qatar will "extend at least several months" into '14 (BLOOMBERG, 10/8). The AP reported Garcia's U.S.-based law firm on Tuesday "stressed the limited mandate of his work." A statement from Kirkland & Ellis said, "It is not our role to determine the venue or timing of the World Cup." Garcia is expected in England this week to speak with members of The FA's 2018 bid team, "the first of a series of visits to the 11 countries involved in nine separate bids" (AP, 10/8). INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Andrew Warshaw wrote Garcia has broken his silence over his much-publicized upcoming tour of 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding countries by warning that "anyone who breaks an obligation to co-operate with the investigation could face sanctions." A statement said, "We will consider any allegations and evidence indicative of such violations, and we urge anyone with potentially relevant information to contact us now. We emphasize that the FIFA Code of Ethics provides anonymity protections in appropriate circumstances. As in every case, we will use all investigative tools available to us under the FIFA Code of Ethics. These tools include the authority to impose disciplinary measures against anyone who breaches an obligation to cooperate with the investigation" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 10/8).

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