SOCHI, Russia (AP) — After years of speculation about alleged corruption, FIFA finally ended the mystery Tuesday of what is contained in an investigation report of bidding for the World Cups of 2018 and 2022.
FIFA published investigator Michael Garcia’s 430-page dossier examining how Russia and Qatar — long suspected of wrongdoing by FIFA critics despite repeated denials — won the hosting rights and how seven rival candidates tried and failed to beat them.
No major acts of corruption were proven by Garcia’s team though some bidders tested rules of conduct to the limit, according to the investigations completed in 2014 and kept confidential since.
Garcia’s report was once expected to be explosive and became a holy grail for FIFA critics who thought the World Cup votes could be re-run.
Many believed bid leaders in Russia and Qatar must have engaged in wrongdoing to earn the votes of a FIFA executive committee lineup in 2010 that has since been widely discredited.
“A number of executive committee members sought to obtain personal favors or benefits that would enhance their stature within their home countries or confederations,” Garcia wrote.
FIFA released the dossier less than 24 hours after Germany’s biggest-selling daily Bild began reporting extracts of the report.
“For the sake of transparency, FIFA welcomes the news that this report has now been finally published,” world football’s governing body said in a statement.
Garcia’s team found “no evidence” Russia’s bid team or Vladimir Putin, then prime minister, unduly influenced FIFA voters.
Putin hosted six of the 22 voting members of the FIFA executive committee in the weeks before the December 2010 vote.
In helping the United States bid eventually beaten by Qatar, then-President Barack Obama hosted a total of three FIFA voters at the White House in two separate visits.
Most of those who took part in the 2010 vote have since been banned for unethical conduct, indicted on corruption charges by the U.S. Department of Justice, or remain under scrutiny by Swiss federal prosecutors who have 25 ongoing investigations involving more than 170 bank transactions suspected as money laundering.
Garcia’s document was the basis for the wider Swiss investigation after FIFA handed it over in November 2014.
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