FIFA investigator promises ‘fresh’ look at corruption
ZURICH, July 27 — The former United States attorney appointed to investigate corruption in FIFA has promised a “fresh and independent” look at the various scandals which have dogged football’s governing body over years.
Michael Garcia (picture), who heads the investigative branch of FIFA’s newly reformed ethics committee, said that no case from the past would be off limits and that he would be accessible to anyone who wanted to make a complaint.
“I will be willing to talk to anybody who has credible allegations of corruption, it is my responsibility to do that and determine whether to move forward or not,” he told reporters today.
“The issue that has been most acute has been getting witnesses to co-operate...The key to any investigation is going to be an ability to get information, to get witnesses and documents.
“I would say one is key is to have a line to receive complaints and allegations.
“This will be an independent and fresh look at all of the issues.”
He added: “FIFA has the responsibility to guard the integrity and reputation of football worldwide.”
“The ethics committee is central in fulfilling that responsibility and to guard FIFA against harm from illegal, unethical and corrupt practices.”
“It’s very clear that the chairman of the investigative arm of the (ethics) committee has authority to start an investigation on their own, and I fully intend to use the authority as set forth in the (ethics) code.”
FIFA has seen a succession of corruption cases in the last two years, losing five of the 24 members of its executive committee and prompting a reform of the ethics committee.
These include former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam who was banned for life last year for trying to bribe Caribbean officials in the run-up to the election.
His ban was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last week but FIFA handed the Qatari a new 90-day ban yesterday while the ethics committee attempts to collect fresh evidence against him.
The second chamber, which judges cases and hand out sentences, will be headed by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert. — Reuters