Many have claimed that Qatari and Russian officials tried to win favour with certain members of the FIFA executive committee – the individuals who decide where a World Cup will be held.
However, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported today that Michael Garcia, the man who was given the task to investigate any illegal activities with the bids, has found Russia and Qatar not guilty of any wrong doing.
In fact the former US attorney’s 42-page independent report, found that it was Australia who were guilty of trying to sway officials.
The report heavily criticises Australia’s bid, and cited the country’s “efforts to gain the support of a FIFA executive committee member”.
The report, of which only certain pages can be published by FIFA for legal reasons, states:
“Certain devices employed by the (Australian) bid team and its consultants were seemingly aimed at hiding ties with individuals close to the executive committee member concerned while taking advantage of their influence over the member to further the bid strategy.”
“According to the report, there have been several different occurrences involving the Australia 2022 bid that displayed potentially problematic connections between financial and other support for ‘football development’ and the bidding process.”
The Football Federation Australia’s bid was slammed further when it was found guilty of funnelling money into CONCACAF development projects.
These projects in question appear to be linked to disgraced former confederation president Jack Warner, who has since been banned from football for life.
England’s 2018 bid was also heavily criticised in the report for attempting to sway Warner.
While some of Qatar 2022’s activities were described as “potentially problematic”, the bid was cleared, as was the Russia 2018 bid.
FIFA issued a response accompanying the document which suggested they believed the matter was now closed once and for all.
However, Garcia has since came out and said the summary published did not reflect his findings.
Looks like this one has a long way to go yet, folks.