From ESPN FC:
A 42-page report by German judge Eckert, the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s independent ethics committee, ruled on Garcia’s investigation — and the findings ended the possibility of a re-run of the voting process.
Qatar had faced numerous allegations of corruption, but the report turned much of its fire on England’s conduct, saying it had “damaged the integrity of the ongoing bidding process.”
It said the England 2018 bid team’s attempts to secure the FIFA executive votes apparently controlled by disgraced ex-vice-president Jack Warner included securing a job for a family friend in Britain and “violated bidding rules.”
But the investigation found that any rule breaches by Qatar, Russia and England were of “limited scope” and “far from reaching any threshold that would require returning to the bidding process, let alone reopening it.”
How convenient for FIFA that the findings of this report harshly condemn the England bid but does not condemn the Qatar and Russia bids. Let’s be fair, it is probably safe to assume that England , Australia, and the United States did not run the cleanest bidding campaigns. If one has ever closely followed a democratic presidential campaign it is very clear that there are some nefarious back room deals that happen behind the scenes regardless of their legality. Nevertheless, this report was supposed to expose the clear cut corruption that led to Russia and Qatar winning the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively. Instead, it seems like the entire “investigation” was just a facade perpetrated so that FIFA could shut up its critics by “proving” that there was no corruption so that they could finally push this under the rug and continue counting their money.
It just seems a little ironic that the report places a lot of the blame on England and the FIFA executives who have already left FIFA in disgrace. The report findings fit too nicely into the type narrative that FIFA would want to put forth into the media. For example now they can say to their critics, “You guys kept saying the Qatar and Russia bids were corrupt but in fact England was the most corrupt and they didn’t even come close to winning so that means the process was fair. Also all the guys who were involved in corruption are gone and the guys left are pure and good.” (Not an actual quote).
This neat little narrative gleaned from the reports findings is also why Michael J. Garcia, a former U.S. Attorney, who spent 18 months looking into allegations that many of the nine bids seeking the 2018 and 2022 World Cups showered gifts and money on FIFA executives, and interviewed more than 75 witnesses has come out against the interpretations of his findings by judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert. Garcia claims that the reports findings “contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions” and he is taking his case to the FIFA Ethics Committee (Deadspin). After all the cover-ups there is little hope that FIFA will find in favor of Garcia so it seems like we are stuck with the Russia and Qatar World Cups for now. One day hopefully FIFA is made to answer for its corruption but it does not seem like that will be anytime soon.