Fifa will vote this week over whether to release a nearly complete version of a highly controversial 430-page report into alleged corruption in bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter (pictured) had earlier rejected calls to publish the report. The football governing body claimed that releasing it in full would break its own ethics codes, so it released a 42-page summary instead, which cleared hosts Russia and Qatar of wrongdoing.
It also accused the English Football Association (FA) of flouting bid rules.
Extraordinarily, however, that summary was immediately condemned by the report’s own author, former US attorney Michael Garcia, as being "erroneous" and "incomplete".
The affair sparked an uproar. In the immediate aftermath, major sponsors Emirates and Sony dropped their World Cup sponsorship, officially citing contractual reasons. Other sponsors including Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Adidas expressed concern and disappointment over the controversy.
FA chairman Greg Dyke called it a "joke" and said that he could not "take the report seriously".
Germany, Holland, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark joined the UK in calling for a full disclosure of Garcia’s investigation.
Now Theo Zwanziger, a Fifa executive committee member from Germany, wants the body’s ethics code to be amended, and the committee will vote on Zwanziger’s proposal during meetings in Marrakech, Morocco over 18 and 19 December.
Zwanziger’s proposal is 13th on a 15-item meeting agenda. Fifa says a press conference will take place at 13:30 local time on Friday the 19th.
If the vote goes Zwanziger’s way the report would be edited to protect the identities of witnesses who co-operated with Michael Garcia’s investigation.
Timeline: A difficult four years:
- 2 December 2010 – Russia and Qatar are chosen to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup.
- July 2012 – Fifa appoints former US attorney Michael J. Garcia to investigate allegations of corruption in world football.
- 4 October 2013 – Fifa agrees to set up a taskforce to look into alternative dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.Â
- 1 June 2014 – The Sunday Times alleges that former Fifa vice-president, Mohamed bin Hammam, paid £3m to football officials in return for support for the Qatari bid.Â
- 1 June 2014 – Qatar’s 2022 bid committee issues a statement denying "all allegations of wrongdoing".
- 5 September 2014 – Michael Garcia submits his report.Â
- 27 September 2014 – Fifa president Sepp Blatter rejects calls for the report to be made public.
- 13 November 2014 – Fifa release a 42-page summary of the Garcia report which clears Russia and Qatar of corruption over their respective World Cup bids.Â
- 13 November 2014 – Four hours later Michael Garcia claims the summary of his own report contains "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations".
- 20 November 2014 – Garcia and Fifa ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert agree to release the full copy of the report to the organisation’s compliance chief, Domenico Scala.