GENEVA (AP) — FIFA vice presidents Michel Platini and Jeffrey Webb gave their support to ethics investigator Michael Garcia on Tuesday amid reports that senior FIFA colleagues want the American removed from office.
Garcia is investigating potential wrongdoing, including by FIFA executive committee members, linked to the voting in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests won by Russia and Qatar.
After the 13 voters who remain on the FIFA board from the December 2010 secret ballots were quizzed in Zurich last week, some reportedly disagreed with the probe.
"I would condemn any possible attempt to derail the investigation and I want the process to continue to the very end," UEFA president Platini said in a statement.
Garcia, a former U.S. Attorney in New York, was unanimously chosen by the FIFA ruling committee when he was appointed in July 2012, with widespread expectations that the troubled World Cup contests was his main case pending.
"I fully support the mandate we have given the Ethics Committee and will encourage Mr. Garcia to continue with his work," CONCACAF president Webb said in a statement.
Neither Platini nor Webb acknowledged witnessing attempts to undermine Garcia on the sidelines of a two-day board session which ended Friday.
FIFA said the mandate for Garcia was "not put into any question."
"After some media reports today, FIFA would like to reiterate that the work of the Investigatory Chamber continues independently," football's governing body said in a statement.
The informal talks agitating against Garcia and his investigation were confirmed by two more of FIFA's eight vice presidents, Jim Boyce of Northern Ireland and Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, who were elected after the World Cup votes.
Boyce said suggestions of a formal attempt to oppose the ethics investigation did not materialize at the board meeting, which was chaired by FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
"I also heard that it was going to happen, but it didn't happen," Boyce told The Associated Press.