Eckert: Fifa summary was word for word

 

Tom Peck
Friday 14 November 2014 23:47
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Fifa ethics head Hans-Joachim Eckert said he was surprised by criticism from Michael Garcia
Fifa ethics head Hans-Joachim Eckert said he was surprised by criticism from Michael Garcia

Though it may not have appeared possible, Fifa has descended yet further into farce.

The judge whose summary of a report into alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids that was immediately labelled a “politically motivated whitewash” by critics has hit back at the report’s original author.

German judge Hans Joachim Eckert had been accused of making “materially incomplete and erroneous representations” of the report by US attorney Michael Garcia, which Fifa has refused to publish either in full or redacted.

Now, the judge has responded, saying: “Usually, you would first speak to each other internally if you don’t like something. I have been trying to contact him.”

Judge Eckert’s summary cleared the way for Qatar and Russia to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, and also was critical of England’s bid. But the crucial information in his summary was volunteered freely by the people involved, whereas the summary suggests a lack of co-operation on the part of the Russians and Qataris.

The growing row has only raised the clamour for the publication of a redacted version of the report. It would be illegal for Garcia simply to publish it himself, but there are channels open to him, such as through the UK or other Parliaments, which are subject to parliamentary privilege.

Eckert has refused to bow to calls to publish the report. “I don’t think that’s possible because I have to respect the rights of confidentiality for Continental law,” Eckert told the BBC, insisting that much of his own summary was “word for word from the Garcia” report.

“Maybe it’s another thing in the US, but in Continental law I can’t do it, and I can’t do it in total even by the Fifa code of ethics. I will not do it.”

The escalating row has prompted yet more powerful football voices to call for the report’s publication, including Jeffrey Webb, the popular and well-respected incoming head of the Fifa’s previously corruption-stricken Caribbean, North and Central American region, Concacaf.

“Given the disagreement between the two chairmen of the investigatory and adjudicatory chambers of the ethics committee, and to ensure complete transparency, we believe the full report conducted by the Fifa ethics committee into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups should be made public as soon as possible,” he said.

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