Publication of World Cup report blocked by right to anonymity for witnesses

Report into corruption will not be made public

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Fifa’s report into possible corruption in the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will not be made public because it is “not legally possible” to publish it in full.

Hans-Joachim Eckert, the German judge who has received the report and is currently producing a summary of it which will be made public next month, has said that not even a redacted version can be made public, because those interviewed for the report had been assured of anonymity.

“Publishing the report in full would actually put the Fifa ethics committee and Fifa itself in a very difficult situation legally,” he said. “What is more, we have to respect the personal rights of the people mentioned in the report, which in the case of full publication of the report would in all likelihood not be possible.”

Since the New York lawyer Michael Garcia, who is head of the investigatory arm of Fifa’s Ethics Committee, handed the report to Judge Eckert, head of the adjudicatory arm, there have been many calls for the report’s publication.

Garcia reiterated his call for more transparency in a speech in London earlier this week though in response to various reports, Eckert clarified: “Michael Garcia has never said that the report should be 100 per cent published.”

However, those wanting to see the full report will have to make do with next month’s summary which, Eckert explained, “will contain an overview of the investigation report, a summary of the main findings, conclusions and recommendations of the report, as well as a brief evaluation of the same.” Eckert warned Fifa in September that “many won’t like what I am going to tell them”.

If Eckert makes clear that the report contains clear evidence of corruption, it will be up to Fifa’s Executive Committee, not its Ethics Committee, to take any action but even they will not see the report in full.