Fifa corruption report: Who is to blame and what happens now?

By Richard ConwayBBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent
FIFA President Sepp Blatter at the official announcement of the 2022 World Cup host country
Fifa president Sepp Blatter claims allegations surrounding the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid are motivated by discrimination

At 09:00 GMT on Thursday, Fifa published a report that cleared Russia and Qatar of any wrongdoing during the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Instead, the English Football Association came under fire for flouting bid rules.

Less than four hours later, it was all change when the Fifa report was criticised by the man who spent two years investigating claims of corruption on behalf of football's world governing body.

What is the background to this story, who is to blame for the controversy and what will happen now?

Who is involved?

Football is not in crisis - Blatter in 2011

Michael Garcia was appointed as Fifa's independent ethics investigator as it sought to recover from a string of scandals.

Just weeks before Garcia was handed the job in 2011, Sepp Blatter stood on stage in Zurich at a news conference and asked "crisis, what is a crisis?" as the fallout from his coronation as Fifa president continued.

A package of reforms designed to restore trust and introduce 21st-Century corporate governance to Fifa was soon announced.

The ethics committee would be split into two - an investigation unit, headed by Garcia, complemented by an adjudicatory unit, with German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert in charge.

What happened and when?

Michael Garcia
Michael Garcia says a report issued by Fifa on Thursday "contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions".

Following claims of corruption and collusion in the bid process Garcia began to investigate all nine bids and the 11 nations involved in the 2018 and 2022 bids.

He travelled the world speaking to individuals connected to the bids, appealed for witnesses to come forward and for those with evidence to get in touch.

He delivered a 430-page report in September this year.

Eckert reviewed the contents and delivered a 42-page summary of his findings on Thursday.

The problem? Garcia now says the report is "materially incomplete" with "erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions".

Who is at fault?

Garcia, an outsider to the world of football who had never watched a senior level game before being appointed by Fifa, has for weeks demanded that as much of his report as possible should be made public.

Eckert disagreed, insisting on confidentiality.

Fifa eventually responded, saying Eckert would deliver a thorough review of the investigation.

"My job is to punish people who do bad things"
Appointed by President Bush, married to an FBI agent and barred from entering Russia - BBC News profiles American lawyer Michael Garcia, the man behind the Fifa corruption report.
Read the full profile

The basis for that disagreement is perhaps rooted in the fact the men come from very different legal traditions, the US with its use of common law and Germany with its civil law roots. Reaching a consensus has, it is said by Fifa insiders, been tough at times.

But for Garcia to now allege he has been fundamentally misrepresented is a wholly different proposition and puts a serious dent in the credibility of both Fifa and the report.

Will it change anything?

It could change everything; it could change absolutely nothing.

Such is the secrecy with which Fifa operates, especially on judicial matters, it may be some time before we discover exactly what Garcia has such an issue with.

Fifa hoped the report would provide "closure". Instead, it has simply dirtied the waters more than anyone thought possible.

What happens now?

Garcia says he will appeal to Fifa's Appeal Committee, but we are in uncharted waters here and where this will eventually lead is anyone's guess.

World Cup 2022: Qatar cleared of corruption by Fifa

This is a story that involves national governments, global politics, money, pride, prestige and the most celebrated football tournament on the planet.

And then there are the reports of an FBI inquiry that has seen former Fifa executive Chuck Blazer turn informant.

The New York Daily News says Blazer used a hidden microphoneexternal-link in a key ring to record a series of conversations with leading officials on a visit to London in the summer of 2012.

The Serious Fraud Office in the UK has been asked to consider if it has jurisdiction to investigate.

What started out as 11 countries wanting to host a football tournament is now potentially in the realms of law enforcement, wire taps, lawyers and disputed investigations.

This is about as far from "closure" as Fifa could ever have imagined.

Hassan Al Thawadi (third left) says Qatar is happy to stage the World Cup at any time of year
Hassan Al Thawadi (third left) says Qatar is happy to stage the 2022 World Cup at any time of year

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