PACE rapporteur: 'FIFA Ethics Committee’s conclusions are an attempted whitewash'

Michael Connarty (United Kingdom, SOC), Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly rapporteur on “The reform of football governance”, today made the following statement:

“On 13 November 2014, Joachim Eckert, Chairperson of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, issued a statement which recognises misconduct which took place during the bidding process for the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup, but concluded in substance that there are no circumstances which compromise the integrity of the bidding process as a whole.

Having seen and studied substantial items of evidence of inappropriate financial transactions, I must surmise that the FIFA conclusions, as presented in Mr Eckert’s statement, are clearly an attempted whitewash aimed at putting an end to the embarrassing debate about the need to rerun the World Cup bid process.

This debate is far from being closed. I welcome the immediate reaction of Michael Garcia, Chairperson of the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, who conducted the inquiry together with his Deputy, Cornel Borbély. Mr Garcia stated that the report by the Adjudicatory Chamber contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations and expressed the intention to present an appeal.

While I do not know which elements of Mr Garcia’s report were not taken into consideration by Mr Eckert, I have had access to the documents leaked to the Sunday Times. These include unequivocal pieces of evidence showing that, from October 2008 until the December 2010 ballot and even after this vote, a member of the FIFA Executive Committee distributed large amounts of money to many high-level representatives active in African football, to gain support for Qatar from the representatives of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) within the FIFA Executive Committee.

The inquiry of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe continues. My full report should be ready for adoption next January and I am checking the possibility to offer further evidence directly to Mr Garcia.”