FIFA finally released a summary of their report into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and to the surprise of absolutely nobody it basically cleared Qatar, Russia, and current FIFA officials of any wrongdoing. The 42-page report was written by FIFA ethics committee judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, and was a summary of former U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia's full 430-page investigative report. Garcia claims the summary distorted his findings. But now, someone with real, legitimate power in world soccer is attempting to hold FIFA's feet to the fire: the president of the German Football League (known as Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH in German).
Reinhard Rauball, who heads the organization that operates the Budesliga and 2. Bundesliga—and is also the president of Borussia Dortmund—told kicker.de that FIFA must release the full report. As translated by The Guardian:
"The result was a breakdown in communication, and it has shaken the foundations of Fifa in a way I've never experienced before," said 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."
Eckert has previously said that he will not release the full report, and FIFA comically protests that it cannot intervene. If the report isn't released in full, Rauball suggests that the 54-UEFA member nations—UEFA is the continental federation for Europe, the administrative body of most of the most powerful countries in world soccer—could leave FIFA. From the kicker.de report (and Google translate):
"If that does not happen and this crisis is not resolved credible, one must also entertain the question whether one is actually still in good hands in the FIFA," the League chief and BVB president. When asked what the consequence might be the fact Rauball replied, "One option would have to be thought about seriously, is certainly that UEFA is released by FIFA".
Realistically, no country—let alone all of UEFA—is going to leave FIFA. The controversy surrounding this report isn't anywhere near the first time FIFA and Sepp Blatter have shown themselves to be blatantly corrupt and rotten to the core. But when it comes to the sycophancy surrounding FIFA, even empty threats are progress. It is conceivable that the shitstorm over this report and Qatar's ongoing and horrific human rights abuses, as well as the between a rock and a hard place debate over whether to hold the 2022 Cup in the blazing heat of summer or upending the club calendar in winter, will force FIFA to become a clean, fairer, and more just organization.
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