Gulati to push for release of FIFA report

The U.S. Soccer president plans to make a push for Michael J. Garcia's report to be made public when the FIFA Executive Committee meets in Zurich this week.

U.S. Soccer President and FIFA Executive Committee member Sunil Gulati will push for the release of the results of an investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Michael J. Garcia, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, filed a 350-page report about the potential of corruption in awarding of the next two World Cups. Russia is set to host the event in 2018 and Qatar is set to host in 2022. FIFA hired Garcia to investigate but says its own regulations prohibit the findings from being released to the public.

Gulati said he believes soccer fans have a right to know what's in the report, especially as questions continue to mount about Qatar's viability as a host. Another ExCo member, former German FA president Theo Zwanziger, this week expressed doubt that the country will serve as host.

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“I think it is important and I think the executive committee can, and should, ask for it to be released in a reasonable form," Gulati told the New York Times on Wednesday. 

The U.S. Soccer president, who works as a senior lecturer in economics at Columbia University, was elected to the committee in August 2013 as one of three CONCACAF representatives. After his election, pundits wondered if the 55-year-old would push for transparency in contrast to his predecessor Chuck Blazer. Blazer was suspended by the body after an April 2013 CONCACAF report implicated Blazer in a number of ethics violations.

Gulati appears set to push for greater transparency, telling the Times he plans to raise the issue of making the report public at the body's next round of meetings, which begin Thursday in Zurich. 

"If we’re going to truly support the idea of transparency and change within FIFA, it has to be made public in the truest meaning of the word. That doesn’t mean only to the executive committee. It has to be more," he said.

“Right now, the whole story is not about what’s in the report but whether it should be made public. And that isn’t ideal for anyone," Gulati continued. 

Garcia himself has pushed for release of the report, releasing a statement which read, "Given the limited role Mr. Hans-Joachim Eckert envisions for the Adjudicatory Chamber, I believe it is now necessary for the FIFA Executive Committee to authorize the appropriate publication of the Report on the Inquiry into the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup Bidding Process.

"Publication would be consistent with statements made by a number of Executive Committee members, with the view recently expressed by Independent Governance Committee Chair Mark Pieth, and with the goals of the reform process."

CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb and Guatemalan Rafael Salguero are the region's other members of the FIFA Executive Committee. Goal USA has requested comment from Webb and will update this story with any response.

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