In 2014, Chairman of FIFA’s Ethics Committee Michael Garcia, submitted his findings on the bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Russia and Qatar won via a voting process that could easily be corrupted and Garcia went through each bidding country and talked to hundreds of people to file his report.
For some reason, FIFA decided not to publish the entire 400 plus page report and instead published a 42 page summary of the report that didn’t satisfy anyone except for those in charge of FIFA. Garcia was so upset that FIFA wouldn’t publish the entire report that he resigned from FIFA as a result.
Fast forward to present day, German newspaper Bild revealed that they had obtained the entire Garcia Report and were going to reveal it in parts throughout this week.
FIFA, in a way to control the narrative and knowing it was going to be released this week, decided to call Bild’s bluff and post the entire report in three parts. There are separate pieces on Russia’s 2018 bid and the United States’ 2022 bid and then the bulk of the report about the 2018 bids of Belgium/Netherlands, England and Spain/Portugal as well as the 2022 bids of Qatar, Australia and Japan/South Korea.
While FIFA lists that they being transparent (and they are), they are also three years too late in being transparent. So don’t give FIFA any kudos for doing the right thing when they only did the right thing when they knew their backs were against the wall and had no choice but to do what they did.
This is FIFA’s problem. Even if what was in here may not exactly be earth-shattering and likely will not result in any changes, FIFA still decided to hide the full report for some reason. Whatever that reason is, I don’t know and frankly I don’t care. FIFA has maybe the worst perception of any organization in the world and something like this, regardless of reason, gives off the impression that they were hiding something. Just like when they got rid of Sepp Blatter and those others accused of and are indicted for corruption, FIFA’s decades of corruption and mismanagement have given anyone involved, whether innocent or guilty, as “guilty until proven innocent.”
It should be noted that Blatter and not Gianni Infantino was running FIFA at the time it was decided to not reveal the Garcia Report. But by not revealing the entire report in 2014, that didn’t help FIFA’s credibility, or lack thereof, in regards to stamping out corruption. And even if Infantino wasn’t in charge at that time, he has still been FIFA President for 16 months and still only revealed the report when they had to so it’s not like he should be absolved of criticism either.
The entire thing just makes FIFA look exactly like they have looked for years. That they still won’t do the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing. But will only do the right thing when it’s convenient for them. And if that continues, they will never shed the stigma that they remain a corrupt organization.