‘Europe must unite to over­come Fifa’

The Star Early Edition - - SOCCER - TOM PECK

The FA chair­man, Greg Dyke, has writ­ten to ev­ery mem­ber of Fifa’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee to urge full pub­li­ca­tion of the in­ves­tiga­tive re­port into al­leged cor­rup­tion in the bid­ding to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Dyke’s move fol­lows a warn­ing from the pres­i­dent of the Ger­man Foot­ball League, Dr Rein­hard Rauball, that Uefa’s 54 mem­ber na­tions could take the ul­ti­mate step of quit­ting Fifa if the re­port is not pub­lished in full.

The au­thor of a sum­mary of the re­port’s find­ings re­leased last week, Ger­man judge Hans-Joachim Eck­ert, who is head of the ad­ju­di­ca­tory arm of the Fifa ethics com­mit­tee, has re­fused to publish the re­port in full, claim­ing it would be il­le­gal to do so.

More pres­sure was piled on Fifa and its pres­i­dent, Sepp Blat­ter, yes­ter­day when one of two whistleblowers in the af­fair for­mally com­plained to Fifa that Eck­ert’s 42-page sum­mary had “threat­ened her per­sonal safety” by all but re­veal­ing her iden­tity.

The sum­mary was last week im­me­di­ately de­nounced by the full re­port’s au­thor, US at­tor­ney Michael Gar­cia, the head of the in­ves­ti­ga­tory arm of Fifa’s ethics com­mit­tee.

Dyke’s let­ter was hard-hit­ting, stat­ing: “As you prob­a­bly know, the rep­u­ta­tion of Fifa was al­ready low in Eng­land and much of Europe be­fore the events of last week. The fail­ure to publish Mr Gar­cia’s re­port, and his state­ment that the sum­mary re­port which was pub­lished con­tained ‘nu­mer­ous ma­te­ri­ally in­com­plete and er­ro­neous rep­re­sen­ta­tions’, has re­sulted in a fur­ther de­cline in pub­lic con­fi­dence of Fifa. We can­not go on like this.

“Com­plete trans­parency is re­quired if the ac­tions of all those who bid, in­clud­ing Eng­land 2018, are to be judged fairly,” Dyke added

Around half the com­mit­tee mem­bers Dyke has writ­ten to are the same peo­ple who voted to award the 2018 World Cup to Rus­sia and the 2022 tour­na­ment to Qatar.

Mean­while, Phae­dra Alma­jid, who worked for the Qatar 2022 bid be­fore los­ing her job in 2010, was among those who spoke to Gar­cia, and is now fu­ri­ous that Eck­ert’s sum­mary all but re­veals her as a whistle­blower, and also dis­cred­its the in­for­ma­tion she gave.

Another whistle­blower, Bonita Mer­si­ades, who worked for Aus­tralia 2022, has also com­plained to Fifa that her in­for­ma­tion was dis­cred­ited. Alma­jid said that her safety and that of her son had been put at risk.

Bern­stein, who took over not long after the De­cem­ber 2010 vote that awarded the 2018 World Cup to Rus­sia called on the pow­er­ful foot­ball na­tions of Europe to boy­cott ei­ther the Rus­sia or Qatar tour­na­ment.

Bern­stein said: “There are 54 coun­tries within Uefa. There’s Ger­many, Spain, Italy, France and Hol­land – all pow­er­ful. You can’t hold a se­ri­ous World Cup with­out them. They have the power to in­flu­ence if they have the will.

“The choos­ing of Qatar was clearly one of the most lu­di­crous de­ci­sions in the his­tory of sport. You might as well have cho­sen Ice­land in the win­ter. It was like an

Alice in Won­der­land sort of decision.” – The In­de­pen­dent

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