Russia and Qatar say they’ve been vindicated over World Cup bids


Russia and Qatar say the Garcia report into the bidding process to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has confirmed no wrongdoing on their part.

Vitaly Mutko, deputy prime minister and World Cup organizing chief, said Russia had “done nothing that has violated the ethics code or the general norms and principles of the application rules” in its successful bid for 2018.

Qatar 2022 officials were quoted by the BBC as welcoming the report’s publication and calling it “a vindication of the integrity of our bid.”

In the report by FIFA chief investigator Michael Garcia from 2014, various cash flows from Qatar or middlemen to members of the FIFA executive committee were recorded, but they could not be assigned to the World Cup organizers.

Garcia did not attribute any serious violations to the Russian organizers in the controversial bid process.

Garcia did, however, note gifts and pleasantries such as Kremlin and ballet visits to FIFA officials and their families. These were not explicitly prohibited under the FIFA code of conduct.

However the computers of the Russian bid committee were destroyed at the time of the investigation. Investigators could not reconstruct what documents were missing.

FIFA on Tuesday decided to publish the Garcia report after it had been leaked to Germany’s Bild newspaper.

The decision was taken by by the ethics committee under its new leadership of Maria Claudia Rojas of the investigatory chamber and Vassilios Skouris of the adjudicatory chamber.

“For the sake of transparency, FIFA welcomes the news that this report has now been finally published,” a FIFA statement said.

FIFA also said publication of the report had been called for several times by its president, Gianni Infantino.

The former chairpersons of the ethics committee, Cornel Borbely and Hans-Joachim Eckert, “had always refused to publish it,” FIFA said.

However in a statement Borbely and Eckert said the decision not to publish “was in line with FIFA rules” as some cases brought as a result of the report were still continuing.

“To this day, Mr. Infantino has never contacted us and asked for a publication,” they added.

Garcia, a former U.S. attorney, was hired by FIFA to look into corruption allegations around the bid process. He submitted his report on all bidders in 2014 but FIFA’s leadership decided not to publish it.

Garcia resigned in December 2014 in protest over the decision not to publish the report, and also in disagreement with the summary compiled by Eckert, which cleared Qatar.