(WFI) Michael Garcia says his side gig as FIFA ethics prosecutor is taking “more of my time than I originally anticipated” since his appointment last year.
Michael Garcia at his introductory press conference in July 2012. (Getty)
“I’m a busy man,” he tells The Associated Press by telephone.
“It’s five months in, and I think where we are is a very good place.”
Garcia, a former Interpol vice president who now practices law in New York, is fresh off a big first case ending in the banishment of Executive Committee member Mohammed Bin Hammam.
After extending the Qatari’s provisional suspension but then dropping charges that he tried to buy the votes of Caribbean officials during his campaign to unseat Sepp Blatter in the 2010 presidential election, FIFA announced the receipt of a resignation letter from Bin Hammam dated Dec. 15 and addressed also to the Asian Football Confederation, of which he was president.
Two days later, FIFA banned him from all football-related activity for life based upon Garcia’s final report and his findings that Bin Hammam repeatedly violated the FIFA Code of Ethics, specifically a section dealing with conflicts of interest.
By taking over the investigation of Bin Hammam and allegations that he financially mismanaged the AFC during his tenure as president, however, Garcia drew criticism that he had sacrificed his independence from world football’s governing body by serving the interests of Blatter.
“That case speaks for itself. There is public record information on how it was resolved,” he tells The AP.
“That investigation was done … completely consistently with what I consider my independent jurisdiction and decision-making authority. There was never an issue to me any other way.”
Next up for Garcia is the launch of a whistleblower hotline later this month and the probe of match-fixing allegations he says are “on the radar screen” already.
By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson
Your best source of news about the global football business is World Football INSIDER