New York - Former US federal prosecutor Michael Garcia has resigned as chief corruption investigator for FIFA on Wednesday after football's governing body rejected his appeal against the handling of his report into the votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Garcia attacked the "lack of leadership" by FIFA over the inquiry
into the 2010 votes that awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the
2022 tournament to Qatar.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he was
"surprised" at Garcia's decision, but other influential figures,
including UEFA president Michel Platini, said the resignation was a "new
failure" by FIFA.
Garcia said he had found "serious and wide-ranging issues" in the bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
lack of leadership on these issues within FIFA leads me to conclude
that my role in this process is at an end," Garcia said in a statement.
quit as head of FIFA's investigatory chamber one day after the
governing body rejected his appeal over the followup to his 18 month
The resignation is now set to dominate a FIFA executive meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, on Thursday and Friday.
am surprised by Mr Garcia's decision. The work of the Ethics Committee
will nonetheless continue," Blatter said in a statement.
had complained that a summary of his report released by FIFA's top judge
Hans-Joachim Eckert was "incomplete and erroneous."
insisted there was no evidence of corruption and that there should be no
new vote for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup hosts.
The departure of the top US lawyer increases pressure on the FIFA leadership ahead of the executive committee meeting.
Blatter said however that the Garcia inquiry "will be a central part of the discussions" in Morocco.
Some reports have said executive members will press for a vote on whether Garcia's report should be released in full.
Garcia's statement said the climate at FIFA has changed for the worse in recent months.
said that for two years after being named head of the FIFA
investigatory chamber in July 2012, "I felt that the Ethics Committee
was making real progress in advancing ethics enforcement at FIFA. In
recent months, that changed."
Garcia reaffirmed that his report had "identified serious and wide-ranging issues with the bidding and selection process."- 'Transparency' crisis -
lawyer complained about the "insufficient transparency" shown by FIFA
and Eckert's "selection and omission of material from the report" he
prepared. Eckert released a 42 page summary of Garcia's 350 page report
Garcia said that his presentation to the FIFA appeal
committee had said that "no principled approach could justify the
Eckert decision's edits, omissions, and additions."
committee said Garcia's appeal was "not admissible" because Eckert's
summary was not a formal "decision" on the case and there was nothing to
Garcia could go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) but he said this "would not be practicable."
independent governance committee, investigator, or arbitration panel
can change the culture of an organization. And while the November 13,
2014, Eckert decision made me lose confidence in the independence of the
Adjudicatory Chamber, it is the lack of leadership on these issues
within FIFA that leads me to conclude that my role in this process is at
an end," Garcia declared.
The FIFA executive has faced a storm of calls, including from Platini, to release more details of Garcia's report.
ethics committee was created to increase transparency at the
organisation, that's what we wanted, but in the end it has just caused
more confusion. Mr. Garcia's resignation is a new failure for FIFA,"
Blatter, who will stand for re-election next year
and is almost certain to win a fifth term, and Eckert have said the
report cannot be released for legal reasons.
Platini has called on Blatter to stand down when his current term ends.
Champagne, a former FIFA official who has said he will stand against
Blatter for the FIFA presidency, called Garcia's resignation "a step
backwards" for the governing body.
"We needed to know what
happened before and after the December 2, 2010 vote. Today more than
ever we need to know," Champagne said in a statement.