Photo credit: Michael Probst/AP

Today brought the release of the 430-page report on World Cup corruption that FIFA fought to keep secret for nearly three years. One section of that report details the FIFA Ethics Committee’s investigation into potential corruption by the Russian bid committee that secured the 2018 World Cup. The report concludes that Russia’s bid was basically above board, and while that may be true, it’s a hard conclusion to swallow when the report contains passages like these:

This report on the Russian Bid Committee and the following conclusions are based on the documentation available to the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee. If any new evidence or allegations are communicated to the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee following the publication of this report, they will be reviewed and analysed in a future report.

The Russia Bid Committee made only a limited amount of documents available for review, which was explained by the fact that the computers used at the time by the Russia Bid Committee had been leased and then returned to their owner after the Bidding Process.

The owner has confirmed that the computers were destroyed in the interim. The Russia Bid Committee also attempted to obtain access to the Gmail-accounts used during the Bidding Process from Google USA. However, the Russia Bid Committee confirmed in a letter dated 1 August 2014 (Encl. no 7) that Google USA had not answered their request, even though it had been received on 23 May 2014.

This is just a hunch, but it’s probably hard to find any evidence of corruption when the organization being investigated not only leased the computers on which it conducted its potentially shady business, but then had those computers destroyed as soon as the lease was over. Anyway, congratulations to Russia for winning the right to host the 2018 World Cup and for doing everything by the book.