The soccer World Cups of 2018 and 2022 are set go ahead in Russia and Qatar as planned after FIFA’s ethics committee said on Thursday it could find no grounds for reopening the controversial bidding process.
In a long-awaited report, the committee said that “the various incidents which might have occurred are not suited to compromise the integrity of the FIFA World Cup 2018/2022 bidding process as a whole.”
The report criticised England’s bid for the 2018 tournament for “inappropriate requests” from former CONCACAF president Jack Warner, a FIFA powerbroker at the time, in what it said was “an apparent violation of bidding rules”.
It also said that in Australia’s bid for 2022 “there are certain indications of potentially problematic conduct of specific individuals in the light of relevant FIFA Ethics rules. The occurrences at issue were…only of very limited scope,” it added.
“In particular, the effects of these occurrences on the bidding process as a whole were far from reaching any threshold that would require returning to the bidding process, let alone reopening it — a decision which anyway would not fall under the FIFA Ethics Committee’s competence.
“The assessment of the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cups bidding process is therefore closed for the FIFA Ethics Committee.”
However, the report said ethics investigator Michael Garcia intended to open formal investigations against individuals, who were not named.
FIFA and Qatar World Cup organisers have been fending off allegations of corruption ever since the Gulf state was awarded the 2022 tournament.
Qatar, which has repeatedly denied the allegations, has also been criticised over its treatment of migrant workers in the construction industry.
The 2018 tournament was awarded to Russia as part of the same bidding process which culminated in December 2010.