FIFA, the world governing body for the administration of football was advised in no uncertain terms yesterday (Wednesday) to clean up its act and seek to clarify any and all questions and allegations concerning the Gulf State’s selection as host country in 2022, according to Associated Press.
With far too many questions still left unanswered and many concerns regarding the entire process, Professor Mark Pieth, Chairman of FIFA’s Ethics Committee, advised the organisation’s board members “The ethics committee should not to rest until there is a conclusive answer.”
Since the vote by the FIFA executive committee in December 2010 which saw an overwhelming support for the Qatari bid, the Swiss based council has been faced with having to explain many issues related to the process, with concerns being raised even before President Sepp Blatter confirmed Qatar as the winner, with allegations relating to one of his own private advisors giving very detailed information on who would win to journalists, prior to the vote.
Further allegations have since surfaced including; alleged financial support of the Argentine Football Association that might help foster improved relations between the Qatari Football Association and AFA President Julio Grondona, a sitting member of FIFA’s executive committee; a further revealing email from General Secretary Jérôme Valcke to Jack Warner which has been reported as including the comment “they bought the WC”; a report by The Sunday Times to the House of Commons relating to alleged payments to a further two executive members for their support of the Qatari bid and a meeting between the Qatari Crown Prince and UEFA President and FIFA Vice President, Michel Platini that was hosted by the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy (of which Platini denies having any prior knowledge of but has been quoted as saying ‘he understood what was meant’ by the meeting).
Professor Pieth stated in the report, “The ethics committee should not rest until there is a conclusive answer.” He further stated, “If FIFA is to emerge from the scandals of recent years it must now produce a convincing and transparent answer to any issues relating to hosting decisions, either to confirm that the suspicions are, sadly, well founded or to demonstrate that they are groundless…”
The investigation will be headed by former US Attorney and Interpol Vice President Professor Michael Garcia, who has already upset members of FIFA’s executive by insisting on questioning 13 of the voters that still remain in office, during an unannounced visit to the organisation’s headquarters in Zurich, which lead to unsuccessful attempts to have Professor Garcia removed.