Garcia Report

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Former U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia, who led the investigation and supervised the report redaction. Michael J. Garcia US Attorney.jpg
Former U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia, who led the investigation and supervised the report redaction.

The Garcia Report was an investigation produced by Michael J. Garcia into allegations of corruption in world association football. Garcia was appointed in July 2012 to investigate ethical breaches at the FIFA, football's world governing body. A month later he announced an investigation into persistent public accusations of bribery and corruption in the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup bids, which had been won in 2010 by Russia and Qatar respectively.

Michael J. Garcia American judge

Michael John Garcia is an American lawyer, judge and former government official. Since February 2016, he has served as an Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, that state's highest court. He is a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (2005–2008). Between his service as United States Attorney and his appointment to the Court of Appeals, Garcia was a partner at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis. He has also served as chairman of El Museo del Barrio.

Association football Team field sport played between two teams of eleven players with spherical ball

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

FIFA International governing body of association football

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association is an organization which describes itself as an international governing body of association football, fútsal, beach soccer, and efootball. FIFA is responsible for the organization of football's major international tournaments, notably the World Cup which commenced in 1930 and the Women's World Cup which commenced in 1991.

Contents

After a two year investigation, Garcia submitted his 350-page report in September 2014, to Hans-Joachim Eckert, the FIFA's head of adjudication on ethical matters. [1] He refused to publish the report, citing various legal grounds, instead releasing his own 42-page summary in November 2014. Eckert's summary was criticised in the media as a whitewash; Garcia described it as "materially incomplete". After unsuccessfully appealing for the FIFA to publish the full report, Garcia resigned in protest.

Hans-Joachim Eckert is a German jurist. He was Presiding Judge of the business court division at the Regional Court Munich I from October 2005 to July 2015. Between 17 July 2012 and 10 May 2017, he was the first chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee.

Over the following years there was much speculation in the media regarding the contents of the report, particularly which aspects Eckert had left out of his summary and Garcia had felt were serious enough to warrant his resignation. In June 2017, the German newspaper Bild announced that it had obtained a leaked copy of the report and planned to publish it. FIFA released the report on the following day, pre-empting the newspaper coverage.

<i>Bild</i> German tabloid published by Axel Springer AG

The Bild newspaper is a German tabloid published by Axel Springer AG. The paper is published from Monday to Saturday; on Sundays, its sister paper Bild am Sonntag is published instead, which has a different style and its own editors. Bild is tabloid in style but broadsheet in size. It is the best-selling European newspaper and has the sixteenth-largest circulation worldwide. Bild has been described as "notorious for its mix of gossip, inflammatory language, and sensationalism" and as having a huge influence on German politicians. Its nearest English-language stylistic and journalistic equivalent is often considered to be the British national newspaper The Sun, the second highest selling European tabloid newspaper, with which it shares a degree of rivalry.

A news leak is the unsanctioned release of confidential information to news media. It can also be the premature publication of information by a news outlet, of information that it has agreed not to release before a specified time, in violation of a news embargo.

Appointment of Garcia and Eckert

On 17 July 2012, in the wake of announced anti-corruption reforms by the President of the FIFA, Sepp Blatter, [2] the organisation appointed former United States Attorney Michael J. Garcia as Chairman of the investigative branch of its Ethics Committee, while German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert was appointed as Chairman of the Ethics Committee's adjudication chamber. [3] The reformed Ethics Committee was also given the power to retrospectively investigate old cases. [3] As Garcia and Eckert fulfilled FIFA's statute of them or their families not having a paid connection to soccer in the previous four years, [2] The Guardian wrote that "Garcia and Eckert are regarded as key independent figures from outside the so-called 'football family' who can help restore FIFA's credibility after bribery and vote-buying scandals." [2]

Anti-corruption comprises activities that oppose or inhibit corruption. Just as corruption takes many forms, anti-corruption efforts vary in scope and in strategy. A general distinction between preventive and reactive measures is sometimes drawn. In such framework, investigative authorities and their attempts to unveil corrupt practices would be considered reactive, while education on the negative impact of corruption, or firm-internal compliance programs are classified as the former. Legal and moral frameworks to reduce corruption date back to antiquity and gained broad international support since the last decade of the 20th century.

Sepp Blatter 8th President of the International Federation of Association Football

Joseph "Sepp" Blatter is a Swiss football administrator who was the eighth President of the FIFA from 1998 to 2015. He is currently serving a six-year ban from participating in FIFA activities.

Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbiter or judge reviews evidence and argumentation, including legal reasoning set forth by opposing parties or litigants to come to a decision which determines rights and obligations between the parties involved.

Upon their appointment, Garcia and Eckert were immediately tasked to investigate alleged illegal payments made by FIFA marketing company International Sports and Leisure (ISL) to former FIFA President João Havelange and former Executive Committee member Ricardo Teixeira, as well as to evaluate the behaviour of FIFA President Sepp Blatter in the affair. [2] [3] ISL had specialized in buying and selling broadcast rights to FIFA events such as World Cups on contracts worth millions of dollars. [4] The case was closed on 30 April 2014 after an investigation by Garcia, with Eckert ruling that bribes had been paid by ISL between 1992 and 2000 to Havelange, Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz, then-President of CONMEBOL. As Havelange (honorary President of FIFA) and Leoz had already resigned from their posts earlier in April 2014, no "superfluous" further action was taken. [4] [5] In contrast, Blatter was exonerated of "criminal or ethical misconduct", but was also described as "clumsy" and it was questioned whether he "knew or should have known over the years before the bankruptcy of ISL that ISL had made bribes to other FIFA officials". [4] [5]

João Havelange President of FIFA

Jean-Marie Faustin Godefroid "João" de Havelange was a Brazilian lawyer, businessman, athlete and centenarian who served as the seventh President of FIFA from 1974 to 1998. His tenure as President is the second longest in FIFA's history, behind only that of Jules Rimet. He received the title of Honorary President when leaving office, but resigned in April 2013. He succeeded Stanley Rous and was succeeded by Sepp Blatter. João Havelange served as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from 1963 to 2011. He was the longest-serving active member upon his resignation. In July 2012 a Swiss prosecutor's report revealed that, during his tenure on FIFA's Executive Committee, he and his son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira took more than $41 million in bribes in connection with the award of World Cup marketing rights.

Ricardo Teixeira Brazilian football administrator

Ricardo Terra Teixeira is the former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF). He was in the office from January 16, 1989 to March 12, 2012. In July 2012 a Swiss prosecutor's report revealed that, during his tenure on FIFA's Executive Committee, he and his former father-in-law Joao Havelange took more than $41 million in bribes in connection with the award of World Cup marketing rights.

CONMEBOL governing body of association football in South America

The South American Football Confederation is the continental governing body of football in South America and it is one of FIFA's six continental confederations. The oldest continental confederation in the world, its headquarters are located in Luque, Paraguay, near Asunción. CONMEBOL is responsible for the organization and governance of South American football's major international tournaments. With 10 member football associations, it has the fewest members of all the confederations in FIFA.

Garcia investigation and remit

In August 2012, Garcia declared his intention to investigate the bidding process and decision to award the right to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup to Russia and Qatar respectively by the FIFA Executive Committee. [6]

FIFA World Cup association football competition for mens national teams

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Russia transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia

Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.80 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

Qatar Sovereign state in Western Asia

Qatar, officially the State of Qatar, is a country located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Whether the sovereign state should be regarded as a constitutional monarchy or an absolute monarchy is disputed. Its sole land border is with neighbouring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) monarchy Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. The Gulf of Bahrain, an inlet of the Persian Gulf, separates Qatar from nearby Bahrain.

The decision of host venues had previously taken place in December 2010. [7] [8] In May 2011, while before a British parliamentary inquiry, the former chairman of England's failed 2018 bid, David Triesman, accused FIFA executive committee members Jack Warner, Worawi Makudi, Nicolas Leoz and Ricardo Teixeira of requesting bribes from the English team in exchange for support. [9] The parliamentary inquiry also received evidence from The Sunday Times that FIFA executive committee members Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma were reportedly bribed with $1.5m by the Qatar team. [10] The whistleblower who spoke to The Sunday Times, Phaedra Al Majid, retracted her allegations in July 2011. [11] In December 2011, The Daily Telegraph reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation were investigating alleged hacking into email accounts for England and the United States' World Cup bids. [8]

FIFA forbids bid teams to offer incentives to members of its executive committee and their relatives. [12] Garcia subsequently expanded his investigation into the entire bidding process for the 2018 World Cup. [12] Garcia's investigation allowed him to demand interviews with football officials, with those refusing subject to disciplinary action. [12] Garcia was not able to interview Mohammed bin Hammam, the former FIFA vice-president, as Hammam is banned for life from football activity. [12] Garcia's investigation remit extended solely to individuals who might have violated FIFA's code of ethics. [12] Garcia was expected to name individuals who refused to speak to him in his report. [12] Garcia has no ability to subpoena people to speak to him or to ask internet service providers for documents. [12]

Garcia was assisted in his production of the report by Cornel Borbély, the deputy chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA ethics committee. [13] Borbély produced the section of the report that investigated Russia, as Garcia was sanctioned from entering the country, and the United States, to prevent a potential conflict of interest as Garcia is American. [13] Russia was the only bidding country which Garcia failed to travel to in the course of his investigations. [13]

Blocked publication by Eckert

Garcia delivered his 350-page report in September 2014, and it was subsequently announced by Hans-Joachim Eckert, the head of the adjudicatory arm of FIFA's ethics committee, that it would not be made public for legal reasons. [14] Eckert said that only his judgement on the report will be published, in the spring of 2015, and the report had only been seen by four people. [14] Eckert later announced that his overview of the Garcia report with Garcia's main findings, summary, conclusions and recommendations will be published by the middle of November 2014. [13] Eckert has said that "Many won't like what I am going to tell them" in reference to his forthcoming judgement on the report. [13]

Eckert will only judge individuals, and will leave the decision on the hosting of the 2018 and 2022 world cups to FIFA. [14] Garcia, along with some members of the FIFA Executive Committee, called for the Garcia report to be published in full, excepting names redacted to protect whistleblowers. [14] Garcia has said of FIFA that its "... investigation and adjudication process operates in most parts unseen and unheard...That's a kind of system which might be appropriate for an intelligence agency but not for an ethics compliance process in an international sports institution that serves the public and is the subject of intense public scrutiny." [13]

Summary released and Garcia resignation

On 13 November 2014, Hans-Joachim Eckert released a 42-page summary of his findings after reviewing Michael Garcia's report; the summary cleared both Russia and Qatar of any wrongdoing during the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, [15] leaving Russia and Qatar free to stage their respective World Cups. [16] The summary noted that Russia provided "only a limited amount of documents available for review", as the computers leased to the Russian team had been destroyed, and several email accounts were unable to be accessed. [16] [17]

The Eckert summary was harsher on England and Australia, who had unsuccessful World Cup bids, finding "potentially problematic facts and circumstances" in their bids and stating that they had undermined the integrity of the bidding. [18] England was described as behaving improperly when trying to win the support of then-CONCACAF head Jack Warner. [18] [17] Australia was criticized for the links between its bid and its funding of football development in African countries, and that two Australia consultants "violated the bidding and ethics rules". [18] The bid teams for Japan and South Korea were also criticized for distributing "gifts" and giving the appearance of "a conflict or an offer of benefits" respectively. [19]

The Eckert summary also all-but identified two whistleblowers and disparaged them. He referred to a Qatar whistleblower as "not credible", and an Australian whistleblower as "unreliable" as she had taken her concerns to the media. The two women were widely identifiable to journalists and others in the football community, and confirmed in a newspaper report [20] by journalist Nick Harris.

The FIFA welcomed "the fact that a degree of closure has been reached", while the Associated Press wrote that the Eckert summary "was denounced by critics as a whitewash". [16] Hours after the Eckert summary was released, Garcia himself criticized it for being "materially incomplete" with "erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions", while declaring his intention to appeal to the FIFA's Appeal Committee. [15] There were several calls for the Garcia report to be released, including from FIFA Executive Committee members Jim Boyce, Jeffrey Webb and Sunil Gulati, as well as FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne and English Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore. [21] [22] Eckert, who was "surprised" by Garcia's response, refused to accede to calls to release the Garcia report, citing the "rights of confidentiality for continental law". [22] Less than a week later, Eckert was quoted as saying that the investigation was only at "an interim stage" and that Garcia "can now continue investigating towards the final report". [23]

On 15 November 2014, German Football League president Reinhard Rauball warned that UEFA may quit FIFA if Garcia's report is not published in full, citing that "If this doesn't happen and the crisis is not resolved in a credible manner, you have to entertain the question of whether you are still in good hands with FIFA". [24] On 18 November 2014, acting on the recommendation of Eckert, the FIFA lodged a criminal complaint with the Swiss judiciary relating to the "possible misconduct of individual persons in connection with the awarding of the hosting rights of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup", specifically regarding "international transfers of assets with connections to Switzerland". [25]

On 16 December 2014, the FIFA's Appeal Committee dismissed Garcia's appeal against the Eckert summary as "not admissible". FIFA also stated that Eckert's summary was "neither legally binding nor appealable". [26] A day later, Garcia resigned from his role as FIFA ethics investigator in protest of FIFA's conduct, citing a "lack of leadership" and lost confidence in the independence of Eckert from the FIFA. [27]

Pending release of the redacted Garcia Report

On 19 November 2014, following a presentation by Domenico Scala, head of FIFA's audit and compliance committee and one of only six people to have seen the report at that time, FIFA's executive committee unanimously agreed to publish a "legally appropriate version" of the Garcia report, with parts redacted to preserve witness confidentiality. However, the Garcia Report will only be published after five ongoing ethics investigations started by Garcia into the following individuals are concluded; for Ángel María Villar, Michel D'Hooghe, Worawi Makudi, Franz Beckenbauer and Harold Mayne-Nicholls. Meanwhile, the decision not to revisit the 2018 and 2022 vote was reaffirmed by the FIFA after Scala said that two independent legal experts he consulted supported that decision. [28] [29] [30]

Walter De Gregorio, in a press conference on 27 May 2015, stated that the Garcia report has been in the hands of the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland since 19 November 2014. As part of the criminal proceedings the report may or may not be released. [31] One day after Bild newspaper announced it had received a copy and intended to publish it, the FIFA released the full report on 27 June 2017. [32] [33]

Related Research Articles

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Mohammed bin Hammam Qatari football administrator

Mohamed bin Hammam is a Qatari who was a football administrator and president of the Asian Football Confederation from 1 August 2002 to 14 June 2011, and a member of FIFA's 24-man executive committee from 1996 to 2011 for more than 15 years. On 23 July 2011, Bin Hammam was banned for life from all FIFA and football related activities by an action of the FIFA Ethics Committee. Bin Hammam challenged this sanction in the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the ban was subsequently annulled on 19 July 2012 due to lack of sufficient evidence. However, just 5 months later in December 2012, FIFA handed bin Hammam a second life ban from football after "conflicts of interest" were identified in his role as president of the AFC.

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Andrew Jennings is a British investigative reporter. He is best known for his work investigating and writing about corruption in the IOC and FIFA.

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Bonita Mersiades is an Australian corporate affairs practitioner, sports administrator and writer. Until 24 January 2010, Mersiades was Head of Corporate and Public Affairs with the Football Federation Australia and was also a member of the Senior Management Team for the Australian 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup bid.

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