The president of the German Football League has warned UEFA and its 54 member nations would take the ultimate step of leaving FIFA if the World Cup report is not published.
Dr Reinhard Rauball has laid bare the tensions within FIFA over the split of the ethics committee judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert, and Michael Garcia whose report is the issue of this threat. Michael Garcia is the US attorney who has spent the last 18 months delving into the world cup bids for 2018 and 2022 and if there was any illegality which took place. Garcia has distanced himself from Eckert’s summary of his 430-page report, which effectively cleared Russia and Qatar.
“The result was a breakdown in communication, and it has shaken the foundations of FIFA in a way I’ve never experienced before,” said Dr Rauball. “As a solution, two things must happen. Not only must the decision of the ethics committee be published, but Mr Garcia’s bill of indictment too, so it becomes clear what the charges were and how they were judged,” he told the German website kicker.de.
“Additionally, the areas that were not evaluated in the report and whether that was justified [should be published]. It must be made public. That is the only way FIFA can deal with the complete loss of credibility.” This sentiment about FIFA having lost credibility has become widespread over the past few days following the split over the report.
Dr Rauball has said that if FIFA does not release the report in full, which Eckert has already said will not happen and FIFA has stated it cannot intervene, that the UEFA should consider its position in FIFA. Rauball has also said, “If this doesn’t happen and the crisis is not resolved in a credible manner, you have to entertain the question of whether you are still in good hands with FIFA. One option that would have to bear serious consideration is certainly that UEFA leaves FIFA.”
Rauball’s extremely strong statements come against the backdrop of UEFA attempting to pressure FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, out of his role within FIFA. Blatter had previously promised to step down from his current role at the end of his most recent 4 year term. The UEFA president, Michel Platini, has opted against standing against Blatter in next year’s election; however UEFA is continuing to look for an alternative candidate to take on the 78-year-old Swiss president.
Prior to the Brazil World Cup many speakers at UEFA’s congress stood up to call for Blatter to make his current term his last. The FA chairman, Greg Dyke, even went so far as to denounce Blatter for claiming corruption allegations in the media were motivated by racism.
FIFA confirmed on Friday that it had received formal notification of Garcia’s intention to take Eckert’s summary of his investigation to its appeals committee. How much this will accomplish however is anybody’s guess with how poorly this investigation has been handled.
One of the two whistleblowers who were discredited in Eckert’s statement, Bonita Mersiades, the head of communications for Australia’s 2022 bid, was scathing in her assessment of FIFA’s handling of the investigation. “It’s an organisation that, in terms of governance, is just a farce,” she said.
She went on to add, “The only people that come out well in that summary report by Eckert is FIFA. It says they got their decisions right in respect to Qatar and Russia, and there’s even a sentence and a reference in there that Sepp Blatter ran a wonderful process. It’s almost like high comedy.”
That may well be the issue. FIFA has become more concerned with image over the past few years than it has about advancing the game and under Blatter’s stewardship FIFA has suffered through some of its worst allegations. Corruption allegations and FIFA go together so well now it seems odd to have one without the other. That is frankly embarrassing that an organisation for the world’s most popular sport shows such blatant disregard for their own laws.
Frankly I hope there was corruption in these bids; it might explain how we ended up with such inconceivable decisions. Qatar is too hot to hold a World Cup, a worker a day dies whilst constructing the stadia for the world’s premiere competition and when the circus leaves town there won’t be a team in the entire country who can fill even one of the stadiums being built. I sincerely hope that there was corruption, because either these World Cups were bought and paid for or everyone at the top of FIFA is preternaturally stupid.