The investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid process has taken a dramatic twist, as the American lawyer who led the investigation has resigned from the FIFA ethics committee.
Michael Garcia has walked away from FIFA over the way his findings were handled as he looked into alleged corruption from the World Cup bid process which took place in 2010.
Garcia released a resignation statement on Wednesday, read that in full here, and has cited a “lack of leadership” among world soccer’s governing body, plus many other issues.
[ RELATED: Garcia’s appeal rejected ]
The man in charge of investigating the alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid process has also stated that he’s lost confidence in his ethics committee colleague, German judge Joachim Eckert, and questioned how FIFA can change after so many years of scandal and debauchery.
On Tuesday FIFA rejected Garcia’s appeal after he challenged Eckert’s 42-page summary of his own 430-page report and FIFA continues to keep the dossier confidential and will not release it for public consumption.
Russia and Qatar won the respective rights to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups but since the verdict from Eckert cleared both nations of any wrongdoing, whistle blowers and many other individuals have spoken against FIFA’s investigation and Garcia himself claimed that Eckert was guilty of misrepresenting his report on the bidding process and has slammed FIFA in his resignation statement.
“No independent governance committee, investigator, or arbitration panel can change the culture of an organization,” Garcia said.
With years of scandal and corruption in FIFA, Garcia has walked away as he felt the progress being made to clear up the organization had stopped.
“For the first two years … I felt that the ethics committee was making real progress in advancing ethics enforcement at FIFA,” Garcia said. “In recent months, that changed.”
With his appeal thrown out and Garcia now walking away, the 2018 and 2022 World Cups look set to go ahead as planned. But FIFA’s reputation remains tarnished, as this episode could impact the organizations image beyond repair. The president of UEFA, Michel Platini, has said: “we wanted all transparency but this is a new failure for FIFA.”
While FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter, who is currently in Morocco for the Club World Cup, had the following to say.
“I am surprised by Mr Garcia’s decision. The work of the Ethics Committee will nonetheless continue and will be a central part of the discussions at the ExCo meeting in the next two days.”