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SBD Global/June 3, 2014/International Football

FIFA Investigator Michael Garcia Will Not Look At New Qatar World Cup Corruption Evidence

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FIFA's Michael Garcia is investigating 2022 World Cup corruption claims.
FIFA Chief Investigator Michael Garcia "will not consider millions of documents underpinning a new wave of corruption allegations" surrounding the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, according to Gibson & Watt of the London GUARDIAN. Garcia "promised to complete his work by next week," but his decision not to examine the documents obtained by the Sunday Times "could undermine faith in his investigation at a crucial time." It is understood that Garcia "has not asked for the documents, said by the newspaper to number hundreds of millions of files." Garcia believes that "it would be impractical for him to examine them before his new deadline, days before the 2014 tournament begins in Brazil" on June 12. Garcia said, "After months of interviewing witnesses and gathering materials, we intend to complete that phase of our investigation by 9 June 2014, and to submit a report to the adjudicatory chamber approximately six weeks thereafter." Garcia spent more than a year and £6M ($10M) traveling the world "to interview those involved in the race to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments and investigate allegations of bribery and corruption." He "has interviewed representatives from all nine of the bidding nations" (GUARDIAN, 6/2).

PROTEST PLANNED: In London, Ben Rumsby wrote European football’s leaders "will stage a sit-down protest" against FIFA President Sepp Blatter next week as the clamor for regime change at FIFA "intensifies in the wake of fresh corruption allegations against it." Representatives from all 54 members of UEFA, including FA Chair Greg Dyke, "will be asked to snub Blatter’s announcement" that he is standing for re-election as FIFA president at its annual congress in Sao Paulo. Blatter "is expected to declare his candidacy" in a speech to FIFA’s 209 members, "reneging on a promise to step down when his fourth term in office expires next summer." A sit-down protest "will be led by Blatter’s arch rival," UEFA President Michel Platini, who had been a favorite to succeed his one-time ally "but who now looks increasingly unlikely to run next year." Platini and other senior figures within UEFA believe that "regime change is the only way" to restore FIFA’s battered image. A sit-down protest of more than a quarter of those attending next week’s congress "would send a strong message" about how Blatter’s leadership of FIFA is perceived by its largest, and richest, confederation (TELEGRAPH, 6/2). In London, Richard Conway wrote Platini "is thought to be undecided" on whether he wants to run for the position. Many observers are "expecting he will decide not to run." FIFA has "sounded out" other candidates, including Dutch FA President Michael van Praag and German FA President Wolfgang Niersbach (BBC, 6/2).

WORK NOT FINISHED: Also in London, Roger Blitz wrote Mark Pieth, brought in by Blatter to reform its "tarnished reputation for corruption," said that "the governing body was only halfway to changing its culture." Pieth: "The glass is half-full. Mr. Blatter says it’s three-quarters full. We agree we’re not yet there. What’s missing is a serious change of culture." He said allegations were "serious and would send shock waves" through FIFA, as it awaits a report from Garcia on whether there was wrongdoing in the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Pieth: "It could be the smoking gun" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/2).
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