Football’s world governing body Fifa has released its full report into alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.
It comes after German newspaper Bild published extracts of a leaked copy of the report on Tuesday.
The 2014 report was authored by former Fifa independent ethics investigator Michael Garcia.
He quit in protest when the organisation only released a 42-page summaryof his document.
That version cleared Qatar and Russia of corruption allegations but was critical of the English Football Association’s conduct in the bidding process.
Fifa said its president Gianni Infantino had always intended to release the full document, which has more than 400 pages, but its former ethics chiefs had refused to publish it.
The former chairmen of the ethics committee, Cornel Borbely and Hans-Joachim Eckert, were replaced in May after completing four-year terms.
Speaking in October 2014, Eckert said: “Publishing the report in full would actually put the Fifa ethics committee and Fifa itself in a very difficult situation legally.”
Fifa said it had intended to discuss the release of the report at a meeting next month, but added: “As the document has been illegally leaked to a German newspaper, the new chairpersons have requested the immediate publication of the full report in order to avoid the dissemination of any misleading information.
“For the sake of transparency, Fifa welcomes the news that this report has now been finally published.”
Why was the investigation started?
Garcia was appointed as Fifa’s independent ethics investigator in 2012 and asked to look into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process following claims of corruption around the bids.
They included allegations that disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling $5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid.
Qatar vehemently denied votes were being bought and said Bin Hammam had not been acting in an official capacity.
Garcia spent two years investigating the claims and looked into all nine hosting bids – including one by the England FA.
Russia won the right to host the 2018 World Cup, beating England as well as joint bids by the Netherlands/Belgium and Spain/Portugal.
At the same time, in December 2010, Qatar won the 2022 bid ahead of Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States.
What were the findings?
Fifa released a 42-page summary of Garcia’s final report in 2014. It cleared Qatar of any wrongdoing, ending any possibility of a re-vote for a new 2022 host.
However, the report said there were “certain indications of potentially problematic conduct of specific individuals” – though Bin Hammam’s payments were judged to be for his personal political interests, not the 2022 bid.
Russia, meanwhile, was also cleared of any wrongdoing, though the investigation had “only a limited amount of documents available for review” because the Russian team’s computers had been destroyed.
The English FA was accused of acting improperly in trying to win votes and flouting bid rules, while Australia too received criticism.
What was the reaction?
While Russia and Qatar welcomed the report, the FA baulked at the criticism.
The man who led the investigation, Garcia, complained Eckert’s precis of his report was “erroneous”.
Eckert denied that, insisting of his published summary: “A lot of my report was word for word from the Garcia report.”
Garcia subsequently quit and Fifa’s critics said it showed the shortened, released report had been a “whitewash” and called for the full report to be released.
Almost three years later, they have got their wish.