Fifa investigator Garcia will not examine Qatar World Cup files

Allegations that Bin Hammam used a $5m fund to aid bid

Fifa's chief ethics investigator will not consider millions of documents underpinning a new wave of corruption allegations around the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Michael Garcia (below) promised to complete his work by next week, but his decision not to examine the documents obtained by the Sunday Times could undermine faith in his investigation at a crucial time.

It is understood Garcia has not asked for the documents, said by the newspaper to number hundreds of millions of files including emails and accounts linked to the Qatari former Fifa vice-president Mohamed bin Hammam.

He also believes it would be impractical for him to examine them before his new deadline, days before the 2014 tournament begins in Brazil on June 12th.


Qatar has faced calls to be stripped of the 2022 World Cup in the wake of fresh allegations that Bin Hammam used a $5 million slush fund to not only buy goodwill for his tilt at the Fifa presidency but to aid the 2022 bid.

Submit report

“After months of interviewing witnesses and gathering materials, we intend to complete that phase of our investigation by June 9th, 2014, and to submit a report to the adjudicatory chamber approximately six weeks thereafter,” said Garcia.

“The report will consider all evidence potentially related to the bidding process, including evidence collected from prior investigations.”

Garcia has spent more than a year and £6 million travelling the world to interview those involved in the race to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments and investigate bribery and corruption allegations.

He has interviewed representatives from all nine bidding nations, including a summit with a Qatari delegation yesterday. His findings will inform the Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s decision on whether to order a revote.

But the fact that Garcia will not properly analyse the evidence from the Sunday Times database, which will form the basis of further allegations about the Qatar bid in the weeks to come, will raise concerns that he has already formed a view.

Meanwhile, British prime minister David Cameron, who was involved in the final push for England's failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup, said Garcia's inquiry should be allowed to take its course. "We will see what happens with this inquiry into the World Cup. And who knows what the chances may be for the future," he said.

“There is an inquiry under way, quite rightly, into what happened in terms of the World Cup bid for 2022. We should let that inquiry take place rather than prejudge it.

“My memories of that bidding process are not happy memories in terms of the way the whole thing was arranged and the role of Fifa.”

Cameron said he, David Beckham and the Duke of Cambridge were assured by many Fifa members of their support. But in the end England secured only one vote among the 22 executive committee members, apart from that of its own member.

Two of the failed bidders for the 2022 World Cup, Australia and Japan, have joined calls for the bidding race to be rerun. Both exited in the early rounds of the voting process, with Qatar defeating the US 14-8 in the final runoff.

Unsuccessful bid

Yuichiro Nakajima, the head of Japan's unsuccessful bid, said the allegations should be investigated by Garcia and backed calls for the bid process to be rerun. "All of this points to the need for a major reform of how Fifa is governed," he said.

The chief of the Australian federation David Gallop said the revelations were serious and his federation had been involved in interviews and the production of documents.

The Qatar 2022 bid committee has denied any wrongdoing and said it had nothing to hide. “We say again that Mohamed bin Hammam played no official or unofficial role in Qatar’s 2022 bid committee.” Guardian Service