FIFA Investigatory Chamber further clarifies role
The Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee has further clarified its role in investigating the bidding process for the FIFA 2018 and 2022 World Cups. ‘While Article 36 of the FIFA Code of Ethics prohibits us from disclosing details about ongoing proceedings, the reports and inquiries suggest a need to clarify certain general information’, read a statement released today by Kirkland & Ellis LLP, the law firm which employs the Chairman of the Independent Ethics Committee, Michael Garcia. ‘As has been publicly reported, the Investigatory Chamber continues to investigate the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup events. Members of the Investigatory Chamber intend to speak with and request information from representatives of every bid team that vied to host the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup. Accordingly, the fact that we request a meeting with members of a particular bid team does not mean that any specific allegation has been made by or against that team or anyone associated with it.’
‘Pursuant to Articles 65 and 66 of the FIFA Code of Ethics, the Chairman of the Investigatory Chamber, Michael J. Garcia, is leading the proceedings as Chief of the Investigation. However, in order to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest, the independent Deputy Chairman of the Investigatory Chamber, Cornel Borbely, is leading this effort with respect to the United States and Russia bids.’
‘It is not our role to determine the venue or timing of the World Cup. Our role, in this or any other matter, is to investigate potential violations of the FIFA Code of Ethics by football officials. We will consider any allegations and evidence indicative of such violations, and we urge anyone with potentially relevant information to contact us now. We emphasise that the FIFA Code of Ethics provides anonymity protections in appropriate circumstances.’
‘As in every case, we will use all investigative tools available to us under the FIFA Code of Ethics. These tools include the authority to impose disciplinary measures against anyone who breaches an obligation to cooperate with the investigation. Ultimately, we will submit a final report to the Adjudicatory Chamber. In addition to setting forth findings and recommendations, the report will document the investigative steps we followed, including what information and material we requested and what response we received. This investigation is likely to extend at least several months into 2014.’
This investigation end date dovetails with the decision made by FIFA’s Executive Committee on Friday 4 October, that no decision would be made on whether to switch the Qatar 2022 World Cup to winter before the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. The Independent Ethics Committee was formed last year, along with a new Code of Ethics. Garcia hinted that it may look at the 2022 voting process during May’s FIFA Congress. The Independent Ethics Committee is funded by FIFA.