FIFA report clears Russia, Qatar to host World Cups but fallout continues

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The eagerly anticipated report from FIFA’s Ethics Committee arrived on Thursday, as Russia and Qatar were both cleared to host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022, respectively, following a long-standing investigation into report corruption.

[ RELATED: American lawyer: report “erroneous” ]

After allegations of corruption against both countries during the much-maligned bidding process in 2010, they are now free to host the World Cup as both Qatar and Russia are in the clear, meaning no re-vote on the host nation for both tournaments will take place.

While FIFA’s report, released by head of their independent ethics adjudicator Hans Joachim Eckert, dismissed allegations against Qatar and Russia, bids from England and Australia were criticized as allegations of wrongdoings by both nations were revealed. You can read Eckert’s report in full, here.

Below is a statement from FIFA on the investigation, which will not be released in full by world soccer’s governing body.

FIFA welcomes the fact that a degree of closure has been reached with the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber stating today that “the evaluation of the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cups bidding process is closed for the FIFA Ethics Committee”. This comes after the chairman stated that “as regards the procedural framework for conducting bidding procedures related to awarding the hosts of the final competitions of FIFA World Cups, the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee did not find any violations or breaches of the relevant rules and regulations”.

As such, FIFA looks forward to continuing the preparations for Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, which are already well underway.

For the sake of further closure, FIFA supports the independent Ethics Committee with respect to their preparedness to potentially open future cases against officials based on the information obtained during this investigation.

Finally, FIFA acknowledges the recommendations mentioned in the statement with regard to improving the bidding process for future FIFA World Cups, but also notes the comments of the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber regarding the bidding process for the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cups as “well-thought, robust and professional”.

Since the statement has been released by FIFA, American lawyer Michael Garcia (who has led the investigation) has criticized FIFA stating that the 42-page report on his findings “contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions”.

Even if FIFA thinks this episode is over, we have certainly not heard the end of this. No chance.