The Football Association chairman, Greg Dyke, has written to every member of Fifa’s executive committee to urge full publication of the investigative report into alleged corruption in the bidding to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Dyke’s move follows a warning from the president of the German Football League, Dr Reinhard Rauball, that Uefa’s 54 member nations could take the ultimate step of quitting Fifa if the report is not published in full.
The author of a summary of the report’s findings released last week, German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, who is head of the adjudicatory arm of the Fifa ethics committee, has refused to publish the report in full, claiming it would be illegal to do so.
More pressure was piled on Fifa and its president, Sepp Blatter, yesterday when one of two whistleblowers in the affair formally complained to Fifa that Eckert’s 42-page summary had “threatened her personal safety” by all but revealing her identity.
The summary was last week immediately denounced by the full report’s author, US attorney Michael Garcia, the head of the investigatory arm of Fifa’s ethics committee, who alleged “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions” and lodged an appeal to Fifa. The two men now plan to meet on Thursday to discuss their differences.
In a further development, the former FA chairman David Bernstein yesterday called for Uefa to boycott one of the contentious World Cups.
Dyke’s letter was hard-hitting, stating: “As you probably know, the reputation of Fifa was already low in England and much of Europe before the events of last week. The failure to publish Mr Garcia’s report, and his statement that the summary report which was published contained ‘numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations’, has resulted in a further decline in public confidence of Fifa. We cannot go on like this.
“Complete transparency is required if the actions of all those who bid, including England 2018, are to be judged fairly,” Dyke added
Around half the committee members Dyke has written to are the same people who voted to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar, in the latter’s case ignoring medical reports produced by Fifa’s own staff that warned of the impossibility of holding a tournament there in June and July owing to the heat. But publishing the report will not be straightforward, as many of those who spoke to Garcia did so on condition of anonymity. Even a redacted version would present serious difficulties.
Phaedra Almajid, who worked for the Qatar 2022 bid team before losing her job in 2010, was among those who spoke to Garcia, and is now furious that Eckert’s summary all but reveals her as a whistleblower, and also discredits the information she gave. Another whistleblower, Bonita Mersiades, who worked for Australia 2022, has also complained to Fifa that her information was discredited.
Almajid said that her safety and that of her son had been put at risk, and in a letter to Garcia explained: “Identifying me and falsely discrediting me sends a message to anyone who may think to come forward that their credibility and protection will be in jeopardy for the rest of their lives.”
Bernstein, who took over not long after the December 2010 vote that awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia, when England’s bid won only two votes, called on the powerful football nations of Europe to boycott either the Russia or Qatar tournament.
Bernstein said: “There are 54 countries within Uefa. There’s Germany, Spain, Italy, France and Holland – all powerful. You can’t hold a serious World Cup without them. They have the power to influence if they have the will.
“The choosing of Qatar was clearly one of the most ludicrous decisions in the history of sport. You might as well have chosen Iceland in the winter. It was like an Alice in Wonderland sort of decision.”
Boycotting a World Cup would present numerous problems, including getting no revenue from the finals or qualifying games. Russia, a member of Uefa, would not miss its own tournament.Reuse content