German Newspaper Claims it Obtained Official Report about Corruption at FIFA

Published: 27 June 2017

Michael J. Garcia - official portraitMichael J. Garcia (Photo: US Department of Justice, CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Sophie Balay

German newspaper Bild claimed Tuesday it obtained the top-secret “Garcia Report” that led to the arrest of five FIFA officials suspected of taking bribes for awarding the 2018 and 2022 football world cups to Russia and Qatar.

Bild said will publish extracts from the 430-page report over the next few weeks. The document was put together by former United States attorney Michael J. Garcia who investigated the process more than two years.

According to Bild, the report contains details about how a former FIFA executive thanked Qatar officials in an e-mail for the transfer of hundreds of thousands euros right after the vote.

Among other accusations, it also claims that a Qatar Football Association jet flew three FIFA officials involved in the awarding process to a party and that the association also paid for their luxury hotel accommodation.

The paper also claims the report mentions that US$ 2 million of unknown origins ended up on the savings account of the 10 years-old daughter of one of the FIFA officials.

The German newspaper promised readers they will soon learn about the important role the leadership of the Qatari ‘Aspire Academy’, the world's largest sports center, played in manipulating FIFA officials with voting rights.

Garcia was commissioned in 2012 by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) to investigate the bidding process under which Russia and Qatar were awarded to host the tournaments.

The results were presented to FIFA which then decided not to make the report public.

A mere 42-page summary was published in November 2014 by the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, lawyer Hans-Joachim Eckert, in which he concluded that there was no proof that the 2018 and 2022 world cups had been bought.

Contesting Eckert’s findings, which contained “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts,” Garcia resigned.

The report concluded that “at a minimum, the targeting of Aspire-related resources to curry favor with executive committee members created the appearance of impropriety. Those actions served to undermine the integrity of the bidding process,” according to Bild.