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Fifa lodge criminal complaint over 2018 and 2022 World Cups

The world game’s governing body believes it has unearthed evidence of misconduct during its investigation into the World Cup bids.

Sepp Blatter: 'I am not a lawyer'.
Sepp Blatter: 'I am not a lawyer'.

FIFA HAS LODGED a criminal complaint with the Swiss attorney general after its anti-corruption investigation unearthed possible misconduct during the bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert last week released his summary of chief investigator Michael Garcia’s 430-page report into the bids.

But while he cleared eventual winners Russia and Qatar of significant misconduct, Eckert asked president Sepp Blatter to take the findings to the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland.

Eckert told Fifa.com: “During my analysis of the report from the chairman and deputy chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Fifa Ethics Committee, I came across indications that pointed to suspected unlawful activity in connection with Switzerland. In the circumstances, I saw it as my duty to bring this to the Fifa president’s attention and to recommend to him that the Swiss criminal prosecution authorities be informed.”

President Blatter added: “I lodged the criminal complaint upon the recommendation of Judge Eckert. I cannot, however, comment on any possible criminal offences. I am not a lawyer. I also was not the addressee of the investigatory report, which I have never seen. However, given Judge Eckert’s recommendation, it was my duty – as the President of Fifa – to lodge the complaint.”

Fifa has come in for widespread criticism for not publishing the full report compiled by Garcia and his assistant Cornel Borbely. However, Blatter has insisted that the organisation is in no moral position to do so.

“Once again, we have examined this matter very, very carefully from a legal point of view,” he continued.

“The result was clear: if Fifa were to publish the report, we would be violating our own association law as well as state law. The people who are demanding in the media and elsewhere that Fifa publish the report are obviously of the opinion that Fifa should or must ignore the law in this regard.

“We obviously cannot do that. Fifa’s headquarters are in a constitutional state, and we therefore have to abide by the country’s laws.”

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