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Complying with the Rules – Fifa’s Corruption Report


Complying with the Rules – Fifa’s Corruption Report

IN this article, Poraic Cahill contemplates about Fifa’s priorities in a recent report into corruption following the world cup hosting decision

This correspondent has known of Sepp Blatter since he drew plastic balls from bowls with Sofia Loren to group the qualified teams for the 1990 World Cup, but it was only a few weeks ago that your correspondent discovered him to be a stickler-for-the-rules.

Like most of us with an interest in soccer, he was concerned by the allegations of corruption that surrounded the bidding process for the World Cups of 2018 & 2022, awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.


So to bring some clarity to the issue, Sepp (as President of FIFA) commissioned the ethics committee of FIFA to investigate these alleged acts of corruption. The job would be carried out by two lawyers, namely Michel Garcia, who would investigate the allegations and write a report on his findings; & Hans-Joachim Eckert, who would adjudicate on the Michel’s findings.


By September Michel had finished his investigations and wrote up a report on his findings for Hans-Joachim to adjudicate on.


Politicians such as Roland Buchel (a Swiss M.P) & Damien Collins (a British M.P), wanted a read of Michel’s report and requested that it be published. Sepp however quite rightly pointed out to them that Garcia’s report could not be published, as to do so would infringe on the regulations of FIFA, which the report was bound by.


The regulations Sepp refers to are in FIFA’s Code of Ethics; specifically Article 29 no.1 (Duties & competences of the adjudicatory chamber); Article 34 no.1 (Independence); & Article 36 no.1 (Confidentiality).

In layman’s terms for the benefit of Roland & Damien, Article 29 no.1 states that it is Hans-Joachim’s job to review Garcia’s Report and make a judgement on it.

Article 34 no.1 states that Hans-Joachim must manage Garcia’s investigation report independently and avoid any third-party influence.

Finally, Article 36 no.1 states that everything disclosed to Hans-Joachim from the Garcia’s report must remain confidential & that he cannot make any declarations about the report while he is reviewing it.


So Sepp’s job is to make sure that Hans-Joachim sticks to the regulations of FIFA while doing his job, which he has done. Sepp it seems demands that FIFA’s regulations be adhered to by workers in FIFA; a commendable trait.


So the following discrepancy this correspondent observed may unsettle Sepp.

Hans-Joachim stated recently that once he has reviewed Garcia’s report and had given his judgement on the findings, he cannot allow the report to be published in full.

The reasons Hans gave for not allowing full publication of the report (after his work has been completed) is some of those interviewed about alleged corruption were promised confidentiality; that they (those interviewed) must have their personal rights respected; and if the report was published in full, it would put FIFA in a very difficult situation legally.


What will upset Sepp about Hans’s above statement is it breaks one of FIFA’s core principles of behaviour; specifically the 10th core principle of behaviour (in FIFA’s Code of Conduct) which states that all forms of bribery & corruption must be rejected & condemned. It further states that FIFA has zero tolerance for corruption & bribery.


Now knowing Sepp to be a regulation-respecter, this correspondent speculates that some time in the near future, either someone in FIFA will be hung out to dry for this breach (of tolerating corruption) or alternatively those interviewed (and promised confidentiality) may have their personal rights disrespected with a subsequent legal difficulty for FIFA. This correspondent knows which one he’d bet on.


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