FIFA Chief Investigator Garcia To Interview Members Over Qatar World Cup Vote
FIFA Chief Investigator Michael Garcia "is expected to interview all the remaining members of the executive committee who took part in the controversial vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups," according to the PA. Only 11 of the 24 members, plus FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who took part in the vote in Dec. '10 "are still on the committee, with the others having either retired or in some cases been banned or resigned while under investigation." It comes after a report that the FBI "is investigating payments from a company owned by Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam" to fellow former FIFA member Jack Warner and his family. Both men left FIFA "in disgrace following a 2011 corruption scandal" (PA, 3/19). In London, Ben Rumsby wrote former FA CEO Mark Palios warned that FIFA "might never escape from its corrupt past" while Blatter remained president. Palios said, "If you look at governance, he’s obviously overstayed his welcome. I think it’s probably right to say that people will tread water in terms of their expectations until such time as Sepp Blatter leaves the scene.” FIFA's refusal to comment on the outcome of The Telegraph investigation on Tuesday "did little to challenge that view." Blatter "may have no choice other than to confront the revelations on Friday provided he attends the traditional press conference" at the end of FIFA’s two-day exec committee meeting in Zurich (TELEGRAPH, 3/18).
U.S. CONFIDENCE: In London, Mihir Bose wrote the U.S. is confident that "it would win a vote to host the 2022 World Cup should FIFA reopen the bidding process in the wake of the latest allegations regarding the decision to make Qatar hosts." The Gulf state beat the U.S. 14-8 "in the final round of voting." The U.S. Soccer Federation refused to comment but "highly placed FIFA sources" said that the organization is "positive on the chances of them winning a rerun of the vote" (EVENING STANDARD, 3/19). Also in London, Charles Sale wrote Warner "is widely believed to have voted" for the U.S. to host the 2022 World Cup (DAILY MAIL, 3/18).
LABOR CONDITIONS: ESPN's Stephan Uersfeld wrote FIFA exec committee member Theo Zwanziger said that "the current health and safety conditions in Qatar are unacceptable." Int'l Trade Union Confederation President Michael Sommer said that "the 2022 World Cup needs to be taken away from Qatar if it does not make drastic changes" to its labor laws. Sommer said that, unless the "kafala" system -- which is linked to the exploitation of foreign workers -- "is overhauled, Qatar should be stripped of the right to host the World Cup." Sommer: “Everything Qatar has done so far is just an attempt to throw dust into the public’s eyes" (ESPN, 3/19).