British SFO to probe Fifa
The United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office is reviewing a Fifa report into controversial bids to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
A 2014 report by former Fifa ethics investigator Michael Garcia had only been published as a 42-page summary but was leaked.
It was published by Fifa the next day and revealed details of ‘‘improper’’ actions by bid teams, including England’s.
The Serious Fraud Office, which has the power to prosecute, confirmed it is now scrutinising the full publication according to the BBC.
Confirmation of the SFO’s interest comes 20 months after its director David Green told MPs of potential money laundering offences, including a payment of $500,000 Australian dollars made by the Australia 2022 bid committee to Jack Warner - then a senior Fifa official but since banned from the game and under investigation - which may have gone through London.
At the time, Green, who was giving evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, said Fifa could not be prosecuted under the 2010 Bribery Act as the alleged offences took place before then.
In October 2015, Green’s team was scrutinising 1600 documents provided by the Football Association relating to England’s failed 2018 bid.
Garcia was asked by Fifa to investigate the nine bids to stage the tournaments, including England’s for 2018.
He quit his role at Fifa in protest when his report was condensed, saying it was ‘‘erroneous’’. But his investigation prompted follow-up inquiries by the governing body, primarily into members of its executive committee.
Fifa subsequently cleared Qatar, who will stage the 2018 tournament and 2022 hosts Russia, of any wrongdoing.