FIFA named independent ethics investigators to look into allegations of wrongdoing including the selection of World Cup hosts, the association chief announced on Tuesday.
former US attorney Michael J. Garcia has been named as head investigator for its ethics committee and German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert to lead the adjudicatory branch by the football governing body. FIFA insisted moves are part of a reform programme that started with corruption claims linked to the selection of Russia and Qatar as hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and President Sepp Blatter’s re-election last year.
In response to a question about whether the new men will probe the 2010 decision to award the World Cup to Russia and Qatar, which came ahead of a field that included the US and Australia, Blatter said: “We have to follow what they are going to find out whenever they are going to open the cases.”
A Swiss court last week ordered the publication of a settlement that named former FIFA president Joao Havelange and his former son-in-law, Ricardo Teixeira, as the recipients of as much as $22 million from the soccer body’s collapsed marketing partner ISL. Blatter said there wouldn’t be any limitations over how far back the investigators could look for corruption.
Blatter has resisted calls to stand down from the presidency he has held since 1998. He said his future was in the hands of FIFA’s 209 member associations.
“If they don’t want me in FIFA any longer, the associations will say, ‘‘Blatter we don’t want you any longer,’” he said.