American prosecutor to lead ethics probe

17 July 2012 06:47

An American prosecutor appointed as the new head investigator of FIFA's independent ethics committee will look into the world governing body's handling of the ISL corruption scandal.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who brushed off calls from Germany for him to resign, said Michael Garcia will be given a free hand to look into the "ethical and moral" issue surrounding the case, and into World Cup bidding.

A Swiss court file last week named former FIFA president Joao Havelange and executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira has having been paid millions of pounds in bribes by ISL, the now defunct marketing company who sold FIFA's World Cup TV rights. The report also said there was no question that FIFA and Blatter knew about the payments.

Garcia, the former US attorney in the southern district of New York who prosecuted a number of high-profile cases, was chosen by FIFA's executive committee ahead of Luis Moreno Ocampo, until recently the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Hans-Joachim Eckert from Germany will head the adjudicatory chamber of the new FIFA ethics committee.

Blatter told a news conference in Zurich: "We have said we will deal with the ethical and moral part [of ISL] and we decided today to bring this to the attention of Mr Michael Garcia, the new chairman of the investigatory arm and he will have the right and the duty to have this case analysed on ethical and moral matters and then to report back to the executive committee."

Blatter insisted he was prepared to have his own role analysed and for Garcia to look at the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

He added: "I am prepared for everything. We have these independent bodies and work with them and follow whatever they are going to find out. Now let them work."

Blatter said that he expected Garcia would examine whether 96-year-old Havelange should remain as honorary president of FIFA. He also brushed off a call from the president of the German Football League Reinhard Rauball that he should resign.

Blatter said: "If I would react every time someone somewhere around the world says I should step down then I would be angry no end, you have to live with that. If you ask someone to step down they will have to ask the Congress."

Source: PA