(WFI) IOC president Thomas Bach has declined to talk about the transparency of FIFA’s World Cup bidding investigation.
Bach was quizzed about the issue in Lausanne on Tuesday following publication of the IOC’s 40 reform proposals.
Several FIFA ExCo members have demanded the 430-page report by Michael Garcia be published in full after the 42-page summary of it released by FIFA judge Hans-Joachim Eckert last Thursday was discredited by Garcia himself. The US lawyer said it “contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed in the investigatory chamber’s report”.
The IOC chief was asked about FIFA’s transparency failures and if he had held discussions with president Sepp Blatter about the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms, since football was such a big stakeholder.
The German would not address the FIFA questions at all. He said he was only here to handle questions about Agenda 2020, which will bring sweeping changes to the Olympic Movement.
Asked if it was appropriate for FIFA to release the Garcia report in full, he said: “Again, I’m here for Olympic Agenda 2020.”
Eckert cleared Russia and Qatar of corruption, dismissing calls for any relocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups or a revote.
But the report has provoked an angry reaction from the two whistleblowers. They were exposed and trashed in Eckert’s summary, which also failed to question why the Russian 2018 bid’s computers were destroyed and emails ‘lost’ and failed to comment on the Spain-Portugal joint 2018 bid because of a lack of cooperation.
The whistleblowers have submitted complaints about Eckert’s dismissal of their evidence to Garcia. Phaedra Almajid worked on Qatar’s bid communications but after leaving made allegations of corruption about the Gulf nation’s 2022 campaign, later retracted.
Former Australia 2022 executive Bonita Mersiades has also accused FIFA’s ethics chiefs of breaching confidentiality pledges.
In an Op-Ed for the Guardian newspaper published on Monday, Mersiades said she had cooperated with Garcia despite “low expectations of an investigation by FIFA of FIFA from someone paid by FIFA”. Having shared “what I knew and what I had observed”, she said, “Like Phaedra, I was traduced by Eckert”.
“It says much about FIFA and those inside its tent that it felt it necessary to engage in a denigration of the two women who had been courageous enough to say something,” she writes.
“It is one thing to discount our discussions and the evidence – an investigator is entitled to do that – but it is extraordinary to single out two individuals and detail (mostly incorrectly) the contact with Garcia, especially when we were assured in writing and in person that our dealings with him were confidential. The question is why?”
Garcia, who has said he will appeal against Eckert’s judgement, is set to meet with the German judge on Thursday under efforts to resolve their differences.
The former US attorney still has the option of releasing his 430-page, 18-month bid probe, which might help protect his reputation that has taken a nosedive after Eckert’s summary was widely condemned as a whitewash.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson and Karen Rosen in Lausanne
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