England are set to be criticised in a report into World Cup bidding – but Qatar are expected to escape any censure that would threaten their hosting the 2022 tournament.
German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of Fifa’s independent ethics committee, has confirmed his 42-page initial findings of the investigation into 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding will be published on Thursday morning.
It is understood that England’s wooing of Jack Warner, the former Fifa vice-president who resigned in disgrace in 2010, is to be highlighted. These include paying for a £35,000 (Dh202,757) gala dinner for Caribbean football officials and organising an England friendly against Trinidad.
Neither of the leaders of England’s 2018 bid at the time, chairman Lord Triesman and chief executive Andy Anson, have ties with the Football Association any longer.
The investigation by American attorney Michael Garcia has looked into the bidding processes by all countries who contested the 2010 vote for the World Cups. Fifa’s executive committee awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia ahead of England, who won just two votes, plus joint bids by Netherlands/Belgium and Spain/Portugal. The 2022 tournament went to Qatar – who beat the United States, Korea, Japan and Australia.
It is not thought that England nor any of the bidding countries will face sanctions as a result of the Garcia investigation but that recommendations will be made on how Fifa conducts bids in the future.
That would come as a huge relief to Qatar following a series of allegations involving Mohamed bin Hammam, the Qatari former Fifa executive committee member who was banned for life by Fifa.
Bin Hammam is alleged to have organised payments and sweeteners for Warner and other officials, but Qatar World Cup officials have always insisted he was separate from the bid team.
Bin Hammam was also involved in challenging Sepp Blatter for the Fifa presidency in 2011 before he withdrew from the race after it was alleged he made payments to Caribbean officials.
It is thought Russia and Australia will also face some criticism in the Garcia report. The Russians are understood to have failed to provide copies of all their emails from the bid organisation on the basis that their computer equipment has since been scrapped. Australia also made efforts to woo Warner, including providing money for a development project.
Fifa issued a statement which read: “The chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the independent ethics committee, Hans-Joachim Eckert, confirms that a statement relating to the investigatory chamber’s report on the inquiry into the 2018/2022 Fifa World Cup bidding process will be made publicly available on Thursday, 13 November, at approximately 10am CET [1pm UAE].”
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