FIFA filed a criminal complaint against unnamed individuals over the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids on Tuesday based on a recommendation by the head of the organization’s adjudicatory committee.
“The subject of the criminal complaint is the possible misconduct of individual persons in connection with the awarding of the hosting rights of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups investigated by Michael Garcia, chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee,” a statement released by FIFA on Tuesday said.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter filed the complaint with the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland, where FIFA is headquartered.
“In particular,” the statement continued, “there seems to be grounds for suspicion that, in isolated cases, international transfers of assets with connections to Switzerland took place, which merit examination by the criminal prosecution authorities.”
The decision to pursue an investigation came as a recommendation by Hans-Joachim Eckert, the head of FIFA’s adjudicatory chamber. Eckert recently released a 42-page summary report of an exhaustive investigation conducted by Michael Garcia into the bidding processes for the next two World Cups, tentatively scheduled for Russia and Qatar.
Eckert’s report was widely criticized, by Garcia in particular, for absolving FIFA of any blame after announcing the hosts for the next two tournaments. His report found that there was "insufficient incriminating evidence," to question FIFA's motives in granting the World Cup rights to Russia and Qatar.
Garcia said that Eckert’s review contained “numerous incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed in [my] report." Garcia also said he planned to file an appeal.