Morocco — Defiantly declaring that FIFA is no longer in
crisis, Sepp Blatter said Friday the decision to hold the
next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar won't be revoked
and the governing body will publish a confidential probe
into the process that picked those countries as hosts.
decision by the FIFA executive committee to publish ethics
investigator Michael Garcia's report, with witnesses'
names taken out, is aimed at lifting the cloud of
suspicion that has dogged the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in
Russia and Qatar and the December 2010 vote that sent the
World Cup to those countries for the first time.
said only if major new evidence of bidding irregularity
comes to light could those votes be reconsidered.
is no reason to say that our decisions were wrong. So we
will go on sticking to our decisions," Blatter said,
speaking through a translator. "There must be huge
upheaval, new elements must come to the fore, in order to
78-year-old Blatter, who is seeking a fifth term as
president, said the decisions by the FIFA executive
committee will allow the governing body to move on from
four years of controversy.
have been in a crisis," Blatter said. "The
crisis has stopped because we again have the unity in our
voting members of the executive committee, including three
of them placed under investigation by Garcia before he
suddenly resigned in protest this week, agreed that the
findings of the American lawyer's two-year probe into the
2018 and 2022 voting should be published, Blatter said.
happen after the investigations that Garcia initiated into
those three people and two others are concluded, he added.
Those probes are now in the hands of Cornel Borbely,
Garcia's former deputy now promoted in his place.
comes a situation where there must be shown unity and
there must be shown a determination to end a situation
which has created a lot of problems," Blatter said.
turnaround — FIFA had previously insisted that the
430-page investigation must remain confidential —
follows Garcia's resignation this week and parting
accusations that FIFA leadership is weak and that the
organization cannot be reformed. That increased pressure
on FIFA to publish his findings.
pressure to do so was very, very strong," executive
committee member Theo Zwanziger said. "There were
quite a few voices against the publication of the report
but there was a very long discussion.
fallout from not publishing is worse than
transparency," Zwanziger added. "It's a good day
noted, however, that Garcia's work can only be published
after FIFA's strict secrecy rules have been satisfied and
the investigations against the five people have been
include 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
led FIFA's inspection team that evaluated 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
us hope that the report can now be published as quickly as
possible. The credibility of FIFA depends on it,"
said UEFA President Michel Platini, a FIFA vice president
and member of the executive committee.
Scala, who heads a FIFA audit panel and recommended to the
FIFA executives that they should agree to publish Garcia's
findings in "an appropriate way" with some
redactions, said he could not predict when the report will
finally see the light of day.
hope fast," Scala said. "Frankly speaking, I
now, the only indication of what might be in Garcia's
report has come from a 42-page summary prepared by FIFA
ethics judge Joachim Eckert. Garcia, however, complained
that Eckert's summary misrepresented his findings. He
appealed to FIFA and then resigned on Wednesday after his
appeal was rejected.
sounding combative, again indicated that he will stand for
re-election next year and brushed aside suggestions that
his leadership is weak.
is not my duty to evaluate myself. If you claim that I am
a weak leader, then kindly ask the members of the
executive committee," Blatter said. "This about
weak leadership, let's leave that aside. I am what I
with the Garcia report overshadowed other important
decisions from the meeting. Notably, the executive
committee said it wants an independent body to be created
to ensure that Qatar tackles widely documented labor
abuses. Hundreds of migrant workers have died, many
apparently from cardiac arrest, in the huge construction
drive to ready the Gulf nation for 2022.
Qatar and the question of human rights ... FIFA is putting
pressure on," Zwanziger said.
June 14, 2018, for the opening game of the 2018 World Cup
in Russia, with the final on July 15.
prize money for the Women's World Cup by 50 percent from
$10 million to $15 million for the 2015 edition, with $2
million for the winning team.
the possibility for international referees to continue
beyond the age of 45 if they pass annual fitness tests.