Former US Attorney Appointed by FIFA to Clamp Down on Football Corruption

By Community | July 17, 2012

Former United States attorney Michael J. Garcia has been appointed by FIFA as lead prosecutor to investigate allegations of corruption in world football.

One of Garcia’s first tasks will be to inspect a Swiss court document on a Soccer World Cup kickbacks scandal to evaluate the behaviour of Blatter and other senior officials in the affair.

Garcia should have authority to order fresh probes into other old cases, including claims about how FIFA executive committee members awarded hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

His appointment by that same ruling board is seen as a crucial step in Blatter’s promised anti-corruption reforms.

FIFA also selected German judge Joachim Eckert to chair the judging chamber of its ethics court.

Garcia and Eckert are seen as key independent figures from outside the so-called “football family” who can help restore FIFA’s credibility after bribery and vote-buying scandals.

Blatter’s ruling board agreed to create a two-chamber ethics court to prosecute cases more effectively after a panel of anti-corruption experts advising FIFA said previous cases were “insufficiently investigated.”

The 13-member panel, led by Swiss law professor Mark Pieth, wants Garcia to examine claims surrounding how Russia and Qatar came to get World Cup hosting rights in a December 2010 poll of FIFA’s executive committee.

Several senior FIFA officials were reported to have received payments or sought unethical favors from bidders, and Blatter has acknowledged that some breached bidding rules by joining a pact to back Qatar and the failed Spain-Portugal bid.