• Football

FIFA judge: 'Corruption' report cannot be published

ESPN staff
October 17, 2014
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has refused to disclose the findings of Michael Garcia's ethics report © Getty Images

FIFA cannot publish its report into alleged corruption in the World Cup bidding process for legal reasons, according to its own ethics judge, Joachim Eckert.

A month has passed since Eckert received FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia's report into the decisions to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

But while many high-ranking FIFA officials, including UEFA president Michel Platini, FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne and Franz Beckenbauer, have led calls for the investigation's findings to be published in full, president Sepp Blatter has refused to disclose any part of the report - a stance backed by Eckert.

"Publishing the report in full would actually put the FIFA Ethics Committee and FIFA itself in a very difficult situation legally," the German judge told FIFA's official website. "What is more, we have to respect the personal rights of the people mentioned in the report, which in the case of the full publication of the report, would in all likelihood not be possible."

Speaking at an event in London last week, Garcia called for FIFA to show greater transparency and criticised the culture of secrecy within world football's governing body, while urging it to show leadership and publish his report.

Despite their perceived different stances, Eckert insisted that there has not been any disagreement between him and Garcia on how to address the situation, and is currently preparing a statement which he expects "to be ready by mid-November at the latest."

"Michael Garcia has never said that the report should be 100% published. He merely said that the 'appropriate' publication of his report should be authorised," Eckert said. "The deputy chairman of the adjudicatory chamber and I now have the task of drawing up this appropriate form for publication.

"Part of my current examination involves deciding what form this appropriate publication should take, whether this means issuing a statement regarding the investigation report or whether certain parts of the investigation report will be published while maintaining anonymity, or indeed a combination of these possibilities.

"This decision is exclusively a matter for the adjudicatory chamber - neither the investigatory chamber nor the FIFA Executive Committee can decide. The main requirement is that personal rights must not be damaged."

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