Wily Sepp Blatter lobs ball back into English FA’s court

Fifa boss says he is prepared to publish report on England’s 2018 World Cup bid

Fifa president Sepp Blatter. Photo: Adam Davy/PA

Fifa president Sepp Blatter. Photo: Adam Davy/PA

 

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has challenged the English FA to waive its right to legal action against them and it will publish Michael Garcia’s conclusions on England’s 2018 World Cup bid in full.

In a tit-for-tat response to a letter from the FA chairman Greg Dyke calling for the whole of Garcia’s report on the World Cup bidding process to be published in full, Blatter put the ball back in the FA’s court.

Within hours of the judge Hans-Joachim Eckert publishing his summary of Garcia’s 430-page report, which effectively cleared Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 of serious wrongdoing and praised Blatter and the process, the American attorney had disowned it .

Dyke subsequently wrote to all 26 members of Fifa’s executive committee calling for the report to be published in full, amid similar calls from others including the Uefa president Michel Platini and Concacaf’s president Jeffrey Webb.

But Blatter insisted that Swiss law and Fifa’s own ethics code prevented full publication, claiming the body was not a “public authority” but a “private entity under Swiss law”.

However, Blatter said, if the FA agreed to waive the threat of legal action from anyone involved in England’s 2018 bid, then Fifa would publish the chapters relating to it.

Blatter’s Machiavellian response came on Tuesday after Fifa made great show of passing the full report to the Swiss attorney general’s office on Eckert’s advice.

The Fifa president, due to stand for a fifth term in April, argued the Swiss prosecutor’s involvement now meant “occurrences that are relevant in the context of the report will now be assessed and investigated by an external public authority”.

Rather low

England

By focusing the attention back on to England’s bid, Blatter will hope to force Dyke, a vocal critic, to put up or shut up.

England’s bid was criticised in Eckert’s summary for cosying up to the disgraced former Concacaf president Jack Warner in an effort to win his support, paying £35,000 to host a dinner in the Caribbean and arranging part-time work for an associate of Warner’s.

Guardian Service

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