This Thursday, Ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert published a report on corruption allegations, which cleared Russia and Qatar of corruption after they were chosen to host the next two World Cups, but also criticized England for flouting bid rules. Just a few hours later, Garcia, who had spent two years investigating the claims of wrongdoing, publicly criticized the report, and revealed to the BBC that he never saw Eckert’s final report before it was released to the media. He issued a statement stating that Eckert’s publication was “erroneous”. It’s not yet clear what Garcia thinks is wrong with Eckert’s report, but he intends to appeal to FIFA.
Eckert, who is the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s independent ethics committee, claimed to be “surprised” about Garcia’s criticism. Garcia’s criticism prompted numerous key soccer figures, including English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke, to call for his original findings, which are contained in a 300+ page document, to be published. They claim that the “disagreement” between Eckert and Garcia, in addition to the need for “complete transparency”, means the full report should be made public as soon as possible.
Despite these pleas, Eckert said that he had no desire to take that step, claiming that the need to respect the rights of confidentiality for continental law prevent him from doing so. According to Eckert, continental law doesn’t allow him to do this, and he can’t do it in total even by the FIFA code of ethics.
Following Garcia’s statement, Dyke said that FIFA’s report into World Cup corruption was now nothing more than a joke. Eckert, however, disagreed, saying that it’s not a real problem because he’s only made a statement, and has yet to make a decision. In the statement, however, Eckert writes that he can go further and make the final report. On Friday, Eckert released a statement that he had been speaking with Garcia, and that they would meet face-to-face to discuss Garcia’s concerns. In the meanwhile, the man who led the technical bid inspections into the 2018 and 2022 World Cups is under investigation by FIFA for allegedly breaching its code of ethics.