FIFA investigation will not look into new evidence against Qatar

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The Sunday Times of London may have sent the soccer world spinning with its new evidence about the vote for Qatar 2022, but that doesn’t mean FIFA’s ethics head is set to consider that evidence anytime soon. According to today’s reports, Michael Garcia, the governing body’s investigator tasked with looking into the decision, will not have time to examine the Times’ evidence before his findings are due on June 9. If FIFA is going to consider the millions of documents that went into the report, it will have to do so later this summer.

Yesterday, the Times released a new report documenting $5 million worth of bribes made by former Asian confederation president Mohammad Bin Hammam. The Qatari official, later banned for life by FIFA, allegedly used the money to gain influence with officials from Africa, Oceania, and the Caribbean.

Until this weekend’s report, direct links between Bin Hammam’s activities and World Cup bribes had been thin. The Times’ work, on the other hand, looked like a smoking gun.

To the extent it is, its effects won’t be felt for a while. From reporting by The Guardian:

Those familiar with the cache (of documents) say it would be impractical for him to examine them before his new deadline, days before the 2014 tournament begins in Brazil on 12 June …

“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,” said Garcia.

That’s fine, but there clearly needs to be another investigation. If FIFA doesn’t want this story to distract from the World Cup, that’s understandable, but the second the Jules Rimet trophy is handed out in Brazil, the world’s governing body should continue looking into Qatar.