Eckert: Full publication of the Garcia report not legally possible

Hans-Joachim Eckert, Chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee

The investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee has conducted an investigation, led by chairman Michael J. Garcia, into the bidding process for the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups™. The resulting report was delivered to the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, Hans-Joachim Eckert, in September, since when repeated demands have been made for the report to be published. At the present time, Hans-Joachim Eckert is preparing his statement on the investigatory chamber’s report, and he has answered some questions for in this regard.* When can we expect your statement?*
Hans-Joachim Eckert: The report of the investigation into the bidding process for the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups comprises hundreds of pages as well as numerous annexes. Carefully working through all this material takes time. As things currently stand, I expect the statement to be ready by mid-November at the latest.

*What exactly will the statement include?
The statement will contain an overview of the investigation report, a summary of the main findings, conclusions and recommendations of the report, as well as a brief evaluation of the same.

*Why will Michael Garcia’s report not be published in full?
Firstly, it must be pointed out that the main report has been produced not by Michael Garcia alone, but also by the deputy chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee Cornel Borbély. In fact, the report into Russia and the USA was produced solely by Cornel Borbély. This is because Michael Garcia was unable to take part in some parts of the investigation due to the possibility of conflicts of interest, for example in the case of the American bid (as he is a US citizen). Publishing the report in full would actually put the FIFA Ethics Committee and FIFA itself in a very difficult situation legally. What is more, we have to respect the personal rights of the people mentioned in the report, which in the case of full publication of the report would in all likelihood not be possible.

*The impression has sometimes been given in the media that you and Michael Garcia are in disagreement about whether the report can be published or not. How do you see this situation?
No, that is not the case. Michael Garcia has never said that the report should be 100 per cent published. He merely said that the 'appropriate' publication of his report should be authorised. The deputy chairman of the adjudicatory chamber and I now have the task of drawing up this appropriate form for publication. Part of my current examination involves deciding what form this appropriate publication should take, whether this means issuing a statement regarding the investigation report or whether certain parts of the investigation report will be published while maintaining anonymity, or indeed a combination of these possibilities. This decision is exclusively a matter for the adjudicatory chamber – neither the investigatory chamber nor the FIFA Executive Committee can decide. The main requirement is that personal rights must not be damaged.

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