The investigation into corruption allegations and other wrongdoings by bidders to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups was carried out in 2014 by the former chairman of the FIFA Ethics Committee Investigatory Chamber, US prosecutor Michael Garcia.
Until now only a brief summary of an over 400-page document was available to the public. However, after its contents were allegedly leaked to German tabloid Bild, football’s governing body officially released the document in its entirety late Tuesday, “for the sake of transparency.”
The report alleges that the fate of England’s 2018 FIFA bid was decided at the highest level of the British government, with former Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William being personally implicated in breaching FIFA ethics code by colluding with officials from South Korea, which sought to host the tournament in 2022.
Cameron reportedly met with then-FIFA vice president Mong-Joon Chung not long before the December 2010 vote and “asked Mr. Chung to vote for England’s bid.” Chung allegedly promised to cast a vote for England on condition the English delegation returned the favor and backed South Korea as 2022 World Cup host.
The clandestine conversation is said to have taken place in Prince William’s room at a posh Swiss hotel, with the Duke of Cambridge himself reportedly having been present at the meeting.
Prince William is not the only British royal to be featured in the report. According to one of the most eyebrow-raising allegations cited there, the former president of the South American Football Confederation, Nicolas Leoz asked the English delegation if it was possible to be bestowed with an honorary knighthood.
Witnesses to discussions between the English delegation and Leoz’s representatives claim that at one of the meetings the latter hinted that “it would be nice if at some point Dr Leoz would get to meet the Queen.”
The report, however, notes that the chief executive of England’s bid, Andy Anson, “was never a party to any conversation where Dr Leoz personally asked anyone connected with England 2018 for a knighthood, or indeed for any award or honor.”
A separate section of the report exposes a series of outlandish demands presumably made to the UK delegation by now disgraced FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, who was banned from football for life by FIFA for “various acts of misconduct” during his time as its official in 2015.
For instance, Warner, a Trinidad and Tobago native, is alleged to have pressed the English bid officials into providing the man who Warner called his “adopted son,” with a part-time job at England’s top football clubs.
Warner also reportedly asked England bid team “for favors and benefits related to a Trinidad & Tobago football team he owned.”
One of the most bizarre requests concerns his home village of Longdenville, which he wanted to be “twinned” with an English village to boost its international prestige.
Garcia came to the conclusion that “in many cases England 2018 accommodated or at least attempted to satisfy, the improper requests” made by senior FIFA members mentioned in the report.
Meanwhile, the report appears to clear Russia of the allegations that it had won the right to host the 2018 World Cup by bribing officials for votes.
“There is no evidence in this record to suggest that the Russia Bid Committee attempted to exert undue influence on any FIFA ExCo [executive committee] Members in order to secure their votes,” it states.
“I am so disappointed, I am so angry as an Englishman that my home association, the country that I played for proudly, is now dragged through the mire and that tonight on social media all of those journalists and sports broadcasters that were very quick to put the boot in to Russia and Qatar are now suspiciously silent,” award-winning sports broadcaster Stan Collymore told RT.
Another analyst, Mike Cernovich, pointed out that “Russians get scrutinized for doing the same things even when they don’t do it.”
“Even when they are not guilty, they are going to be blamed for things that other countries actually do… Russia is now the world’s boogeyman and all the corrupt people are trying to say: ‘Look at Russia!’ It’s a diversion that corrupt people are using to get people distracted from their own [wrongdoings],” he told RT.