Garcia quizzes Blatter, FIFA board on WCup bids

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 20, 2014 at 2:38 pm •  Published: March 20, 2014
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GENEVA (AP) — Sepp Blatter and other FIFA officials involved in choosing Russia and Qatar as future World Cup hosts are facing questions from ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia.

Garcia "is currently in Zurich and is also interviewing some of the FIFA executive members as part of his ongoing work," FIFA said in a statement Thursday.

Blatter and 12 colleagues, including UEFA president Michel Platini and Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko, remain on FIFA's board since the December 2010 vote gave the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

Before the vote, there were widespread allegations of rule-breaking by bidders and favor-seeking by the FIFA ruling committee. Two voters were suspended by FIFA following a cash-for-votes sting by British newspaper The Sunday Times.

Among nine voters who have since left FIFA, Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar was banned for life by the governing body in 2012 for financial wrongdoing when leading the Asian Football Confederation.

Garcia's investigating team is focusing on FIFA board members. Since October, the team has been seeking interviews with officials from the nine World Cup bid committees.

Russia defeated bids from England, Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands. Qatar beat the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

This week, the Daily Telegraph in London reported it had evidence of a $2 million money trail from a construction company in Doha controlled by bin Hammam to disgraced former FIFA vice president Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago. One note was dated Dec. 15, 2010.

The newspaper reported that the FBI is investigating links between Warner and bin Hammam, who were FIFA board colleagues for 15 years.

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