Fifa urged to tackle corruption allegations over 2018 and 2022 World Cups

The world governing body has been told to seek conclusive answers rather than avoid tough questions in its continued battle for credibility
Fifa has been told it must resolve allegations of corruption in the selection of hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups if it is to fix its ailing reputation.

AAP and the Guardian report that the Independent Governance Committee (IGC) has told Fifa that only a full and frank review of the voting process which led to Russia and Qatar being awarded the right to host the finals tournaments will satisfy outsiders.

The warning comes as part of a 15-page report collated by the IGC, which was assembled to advise Fifa in the aftermath of a series of corruption allegations against members of the world governing body. And the committee chair, Swiss law professor Mark Pieth, has pulled no punches in instructing the organisation to tackle the scandal with the utmost transparency.

"The ethics committee should not rest until there is a conclusive answer," Pieth wrote in the report. "If Fifa is to emerge from the scandals of recent years it must now produce a convincing and transparent answer to any issues relating to hosting decisions, either to confirm that the suspicions are, sadly, well founded or to demonstrate that they are groundless."

Pieth told the governing body that the formation of a new independent ethics committee had been a step in the right direction, but Fifa board members recently attempted to oust the head of its investigatory chamber, former US attorney Michael Garcia, from the case.

"The IGC's view was that only appointing a competent and experienced professional outsider to this role would enable Fifa fearlessly to investigate allegations of corruption at the heart of Fifa," Pieth added in support of Garcia. "Fifa and all involved individuals must therefore fully and unconditionally cooperate with Mr. Garcia's investigation."

The IGC probe gave Fifa a total of seven recommendations as part of its attempts to clean up its reputation, but the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar remains president Sepp Blatter's primary issue, according to Pieth.

"[The report's brief] explicitly included allegations in relation to World Cup hosting decisions and the IGC singled out this issue including the decision to award the tournament to Qatar as one that required further investigation."

A large percentage of the executive committee members who voted on the 2018 and 2022 hosting decisions have now left their posts, with some exiting after corruption allegations.

The IGC's findings come ahead of the 2014 Fifa Congress in Sao Paulo in June, during which Blatter is expected to announce whether he intends to run for a further term as Fifa president.