Fifa’s independent ethics investigator Michael Garcia (pictured) has quit in protest over the handling of his 430-page report into bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar.
Citing "lack of leadership" at the top of football’s world governing body, he quit as chairman of the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee today.
Yesterday Fifa’s appeals panel rejected his challenge of a summary of his report, released by judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, an ethics committee colleague.
Formerly a US attorney, Garcia’s resignation comes as the Fifa executive committee prepares for a two-day meeting in Morocco on 18 and 19 December, during which they will vote on releasing a nearly complete version of the report.
In a statement Fifa president Sepp Blatter expressed surprise over the resignation.
"I am surprised by Mr Garcia’s decision," he said. "The work of the Ethics Committee will nonetheless continue and will be a central part of the discussions at the ExCo meeting in the next two days."
The head of European football, Uefa president Michel Platini, said: "We wanted all transparency but this is a new failure for Fifa."