'Doctored' FIFA report draws strong reaction

2015-02-10 12:13
Michael Garcia (AFP)

London - Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan and European soccer's governing body UEFA reacted strongly on Monday to suggestions a FIFA report into corruption was "doctored" in favour of president Sepp Blatter last year.

German magazine Der Spiegel alleged on Saturday that FIFA officials altered references to Blatter in a draft presented by investigator Mark Pieth at the conclusion of his report.

Pieth's original document criticised not only Blatter over his knowledge of the ISL bribery scandal 15 years ago but also complained UEFA had blocked proposals for reform of world soccer's ruling body.

However, UEFA reacted angrily to that idea on Monday as did Prince Ali, a FIFA vice-president and executive committee member who is one of three men standing, with European support, against Blatter in this year's presidential elections.

FIFA was not immediately available for comment.

"Media reports over the weekend are a reminder of why we need Michael Garcia's report into FIFA's World Cup bidding process to be published in full," said Prince Ali in a statement.

"There does appear to be evidence of interference in the drafting of the so-called independent Pieth report by FIFA. This is deeply worrying and suggests something is not right at the heart of FIFA governance.

"Without publishing the Garcia report in full, FIFA faces the ongoing public suspicion interference may also have occurred in that case."

The Pieth report made seven recommendations for reform if FIFA was to regain credibility.

In the final document delivered in April, Pieth gave FIFA credit for introducing a new independent ethics committee.

Der Speigel published what it said was a detailed analysis of where the report had been doctored.

Pedro Pinto, spokesman for UEFA president Michel Platini, said in a statement: "The latest revelations regarding the Pieth report show FIFA's Independent Governance Committee was anything but independent.

"UEFA has always wondered why it was criticised by Mr Pieth and wrongly accused of blocking FIFA reforms. Now we understand why and where it all came from."

Former U.S. attorney Garcia headed an investigatory chamber looking into the controversial bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

However, he quit in December after strongly disputing what was effectively an edited version of his report published by Judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, head of the adjudicatory chamber.

UEFA members are among those supporting Prince Ali, Dutch FA president Michael van Praag and Luis Figo of Portugal in their challenge to Blatter in the FIFA presidential election on May 29.


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