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World Cup: England hits back at FIFA over 'corruption' probe

By James Masters, CNN
updated 1:14 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
Sepp Blatter, the president of world football's governing body FIFA, announced that a redacted version of the report into the alleged wrongdoing surroiunding the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups would be published. Sepp Blatter, the president of world football's governing body FIFA, announced that a redacted version of the report into the alleged wrongdoing surroiunding the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups would be published.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • FIFA coming under increasing pressure from member nations
  • English Football Association hit out at FIFA
  • FA chairman Greg Dyke wants "urgent action" taken
  • Dyke fears for credibility of world football's governing body

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(CNN) -- FIFA is coming under growing pressure from some of Europe's leading football federations to take "urgent action" and restore confidence in the world governing body.

Under-fire FIFA has faced heavy criticism over its refusal to publish a key report into allegations of corruption surrounding the World Cup bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in Russia and Qatar.

England's 2018 bid was singled out for particular criticism by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert when he delivered his 42-page summary of Michael Garcia's report last week.

But the English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has hit back, confirming he will be writing to every member of the FIFA executive committee asking for full publication.

Read: FIFA embroiled in civil war

"I am writing to each member of the FIFA Executive Committee on behalf of the FA to urge you to insist on the publication of Mr Garcia's full report as a matter of some urgency.

"As you probably know the reputation of FIFA was already low in England and much of Europe before the events of last week."

FIFA had hoped Eckert's summary would draw a veil over the bidding process, but that hope was scuppered when American lawyer Garcia said the 42-page report was error ridden.

"The failure to publish Mr Garcia's report and his statement that the summary report which was published contained "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations" has resulted in a further decline in public confidence of FIFA," added Dyke.

"We cannot go on like this. Complete transparency is required if the actions of all those who bid, including England 2018, are to be judged fairly."

Dyke went on to ask members of the FIFA executive committee to think of the greater good for FIFA and football.

"I know some of you believe that FIFA's reputation in England is the result of an obsession amongst the English media with FIFA and I know Mr Blatter sees their reports as an unfair attack on the organization he leads," said Blatter.

"However, in England we see it differently. If you read a whole range of English newspaper reports about FIFA, particularly those in the Sunday Times, they do provide compelling evidence of wrong doing.

"They cannot be simply dismissed as "racist" or "an attack on FIFA" as Mr Blatter described them at the FIFA Congress in Brazil.

"Urgent action is needed if confidence in FIFA is to be rebuilt in England. The FA is of the view that this action should start with the full publication of Mr Garcia's report."

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Dyke's move comes after the England's 2018 bid team was accused of acting improperly during the bidding process by the report.

The FA was accused accused of attempting to "curry favor" with former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, who left his role in 2011 following allegations of bribery.

The report claims that the England bidding team sponsored a $55,000 gala dinner for the Caribbean Football Union, allowed the Trinidad and Tobago under-20 squad to hold a training camp in the United Kingdom in 2009 and attempted to help a "person of interest" to Warner find a job in the country.

A spokesman for the FA refuted the claims in a statement on the organization's website.

"We note the FIFA Ethics Committee has today published a 42- page report in relation to the bidding processes for the FIFA World Cups in 2018 and 2022.

"We were not given any prior notice of the report before publication. We do not accept any criticism regarding the integrity of England's bid or any of the individuals involved.

"We conducted a transparent bid and, as the report demonstrates with its reference to the England bid team's 'full and valuable cooperation', willingly complied with the investigation. We maintain that transparency and cooperation around this entire process from all involved is crucial to its credibility.

"We also note that after a lengthy investigatory process and assessment, the report has concluded that the 'potentially problematic facts and circumstances identified by the report regarding the England 2018 bid were, all in all, not suited to compromise the integrity of the FIFA World Cup 2018/22 bidding process as a whole'."

Simon Johnson, who was part of the England 2018 bid, told CNN last week that the report was a "politically motivated whitewash".

"Even before it was published, I had no confidence in the report," he said.

"Now Garcia has come out and told us there are inaccuracies why should anyone believe anything?

"Mr Garcia had limited powers and couldn't investigate everybody he wanted to.

"He didn't speak to a number of members form the executive committee."

Read: FIFA embroiled in civil war

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