Hans-Joachim Eckert, chairman of the independent Adjudicatory Chamber of football governing body FIFA’s Ethics Committee, announced on Thursday that his committee had exonerated Qatar and Russia over the controversial bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights.
A report to Eckert’s committee also criticised England and Australia, whose respective bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments yielded princely votes of two and one.
In response, FIFA felt emboldened to “welcome the fact that a degree of closure has been reached” and announced that:
… the evaluation of the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cups bidding process is closed for the FIFA Ethics Committee.
But within hours of the report’s release, Michael Garcia, chairman of the independent Investigatory Chamber and a former US federal prosecutor who had spent two years looking into the allegations, said that the 42-page summary of his 430-page report:
… contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations.
“Closure” never looked more open-ended. FIFA has never appeared more foolish, deluded and self-serving.
The ABC recently broadcast Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond, a two-part series about the literary creator of James Bond. Fleming died in 1964, two years before England’s sole victory in the FIFA World Cup. It is a shame that he never turned his attention from SMERSH, the fictional Soviet spy agency in the James Bond novels, and international espionage to take on the murky world of FIFA and international football.
With a ready-made cast of villains, sundry convoluted plots and a raft of shady transactions, it would have been easy for Fleming to take some minor fictional liberties with FIFA’s shenanigans and bash out From Zurich With Cash or The Executive Committee Member Who Milked Me.