Michael Garcia has distanced himself from the Fifa report published on Thursday that examined the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
American attorney Garcia was himself tasked by the world governing body with investigating how the tournaments were awarded to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
The findings were released earlier today but Garcia has now said he will take the case to the Fifa appeal committee after claiming the report summary “contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts”.
According to Fifa, the report – published by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s independent ethics committee – cleared Russia and Qatar of corruption claims after stating any rule breaches by the bidding countries were “of very limited scope”.
“In particular, the effects of these occurrences on the bidding process as a whole were far from reaching any threshold that would require returning to the bidding process, let alone reopening it,” Eckert says.
Qatar was cleared of involvement in any payments by Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Qatari former Fifa executive committee member banned for life by the organization. Bin Hammam was “distant” from the bid committee, the report says, claiming payments made to Jack Warner and other African officials were more related to his challenge for the FIFA presidency in 2011.
Meanwhile, the report is an embarrassment for England, whose attempts to win the support of disgraced former Fifa vice-president Warner were said to have “violated bidding rules”.
England targeted executives supposedly controlled by Warner and that led to the Trinidad official “showering the bid team with inappropriate requests”, according to the report, and even included the securing of a job in the UK for a family friend.
Goal.com gathered that “Relevant occurrences included Mr Warner pressing, in 2009 and again in 2010, England’s bid team to help a person of interest to him find a part-time job in the UK,” the reports states. “England 2018’s top officials in response not only provided the individual concerned with employment opportunities, but also kept Mr Warner apprised of their efforts as they solicited his support for the bid.”
Russia and Australia also come in for criticism in the report. Russia banned Garcia from entering the country and also claimed no e-mail evidence could be offered because their computer systems had been scrapped, while Australia also made efforts to influence Warner.
Spain and Portugal, joint bidders for the 2018 World Cup, were not mentioned in the report.