28/06/2017 | 3PM
A top-secret report into the discredited bidding process for the next two World Cups has been dramatically leaked after German newspaper Bild started publishing extracts from the potentially-explosive document.
The so-called ‘Garcia report’, the 430-page findings of one of the biggest investigations ever carried out within sport, began to appear online and it did not make good reading for 2022 hosts Qatar.
According to one extract, the conduct of those seeking to bring football’s biggest tournament to the tiny but mega-rich Gulf state “served to undermine the integrity of the bidding process”.
That finding of the report, which was written in 2014 by former United States attorney Michael J Garcia, Fifa’s then chief investigator, appeared to contrast with a summary that was published in November of that year by the governing body’s head judge, Hans Joachim Eckert.
Garcia and Eckert both cited the role played in Qatar’s bid by the Aspire Academy, the country’s high-tech sports facility.
The Garcia report concluded: “At a minimum, the targeting of Aspire-related resources to curry favor with executive committee members created the appearance of impropriety. Those actions served to undermine the integrity of the bidding process.”
However, the Eckert summary found: “The potentially problematic facts and circumstances identified by the report regarding the Qatar 2022 bid were, all in all, not suited to compromise the integrity of the Fifa World Cup 2018/2022 bidding process as a whole.”
Garcia resigned in protest at Eckert’s summary of his report, which he claimed contained “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts”.
The small number of other people familiar with the document insisted at the time that Garcia had not uncovered enough evidence for Russia or Qatar to be stripped of the next two World Cups.
Bild also claimed last night that Garcia found that three members of the Fifa executive committee which voted for Qatar had, prior to the December 2010 ballot, been flown to a party in Rio on a private jet provided by the Qatari Football Association.
He was also said to have found that the daughter of one ExCo member had £1.6 million deposited in her bank account in the months after the vote, as exclusively revealed by the Daily Telegraph.
And it said the husband of one of disgraced former Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s closest aides was found to have been handed a contract in Qatar for his construction company.
The reporter who obtained a copy of the report nevertheless said it did not provide concrete proof the 2018 and 2022 tournaments had been bought.