FIFA will not reopen 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes

Associated Press

December 19, 2014

        

FIFA president Sepp Blatter, center, leaves a hotel to lead a meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. Amid another crisis at FIFA, Blatter will lead an executive committee meeting on Thursday with the sudden resignation of ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia now on the agenda.

MARRAKECH, Morocco FIFA will not reopen the vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and will publish at least some of the confidential report into the bidding process, President Sepp Blatter said Friday.

The 78-year-old Blatter, who is seeking a fifth term as president, said the decisions by the FIFA executive committee on Friday will allow the governing body to move on from four years of controversy.

"We have been in a crisis," Blatter said. "The crisis has stopped because we again have the unity in our government."

In an earlier statement, Blatter said there are "no legal grounds to revoke the executive committee's decision (in 2010) on the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups."

But Blatter said FIFA can publish at least in part the 430-page investigation report into the bidding contest by ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia despite initially insisting it must remain confidential.

Last month, FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert released his 42-page summary of the report, essentially clearing Russia to host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar to host the 2022 tournament.

But Garcia soon appealed to FIFA, saying his work was misrepresented by Eckert. The American lawyer then resigned on Wednesday after his appeal was rejected.

Blatter said there was a unanimous agreement from the executive committee on Friday to publish the report "in an appropriate form once the ongoing procedures against individuals are concluded."

But Blatter said it can only be published after FIFA's strict secrecy rules have been satisfied and the investigations opened against five people have been closed.

Garcia opened proceedings against three current FIFA executive committee members FIFA vice president Angel Maria Villar of Spain, Michel D'Hooghe of Belgium and Worawi Makudi of Thailand. There are also cases against Franz Beckenbauer, the Germany great and former FIFA executive committee member, and former Chile football leader Harold Mayne-Nicholls, who FIFA chose to lead an inspection team evaluating the nine World Cup candidates in 2010.

If any of those five individuals are found guilty of wrongdoing they can appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport, potentially further delaying the publication of the full investigation.