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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Joachim Eckert 'surprised' by Michael Garcia criticism of FIFA report

Joachim Eckert, the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's independent ethics committee, has said he is "surprised" by American investigator Michael Garcia's criticism of his 42-page report on the investigation into the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Eckert said he wants to talk to Garcia, who rejected his World Cup bid corruption report as "incomplete and erroneous.''

Eckert told The Associated Press on Friday:  "I must and want to first speak with Garcia.''

FIFA ethics investigator Garcia attacked the report, which was published on Thursday, and said he would appeal against it.

The former U.S. Attorney issued a short statement, reported by the BBC, in which he said the document "contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed in the investigatory chamber's report."

"I intend to appeal this decision to the FIFA Appeal Committee," he said.

Eckert was surprised by Garcia's response, telling Reuters: "Usually you would first speak to each other internally if you don't like something. I have been trying to contact him."

The situation has led two members of FIFA's Executive Committee to call for Garcia's full report to be made public in order to ensure "complete transparency."

FIFA vice president and CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb and Sunil Gulati, the president of the USA Soccer Federation, released a joint statement on Friday.

The statement, reported by Sky Sports, said: "Given the disagreement between the two chairmen of the Investigatory and Adjudicatory Chambers of the ethics committee, and to ensure complete transparency, we believe the full report conducted by the FIFA ethics committee ... should be made public as soon as possible.

"This can be done with appropriate redaction to protect any confidentiality required by the FIFA code of ethics. Providing the entire independent report for inspection is in the best interest of the game and FIFA."

Jerome Champagne, who will stand for the FIFA presidency against Sepp Blatter next year, echoed that call, telling Sky Sports: "Releasing this report will contribute importantly to the rebuilding of the image of FIFA.

"In a democratic system, the transparency in the judicial system is very important and that is why I have been advocating for the past month that we need to know.

"In a democracy, you are innocent until proven guilty and that's why we need to know what happened."

Eckert's report cleared Russia and Qatar of corruption in their winning bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The document said no proof was found of bribes or voting pacts in an investigation that was hampered by a lack of access to evidence and uncooperative witnesses.

On Thursday, FIFA issued a statement in response to Garcia's criticisms in which it said only: "We take note of reports mentioning a statement issued by Michael Garcia, chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA ethics committee.

"For the time being, FIFA has not been officially notified of this statement and is therefore not in a position to further comment on this matter at this stage. We will follow up in due time.''

World football's governing body had previously said the Garcia report could not be published in full for legal reasons.

The American's intervention means he has effectively dismissed the conclusions that FIFA has drawn from his two-year investigative process.

Britain's FIFA vice president, Jim Boyce, said it increased the case for as much of his report "as is legally possible" to be made public.

Boyce told Press Association Sport: "In view of the fact Michael Garcia has now stated he is not happy with the findings and is to appeal, I await with interest to see what further disclosures will be made."

The Football Association hit back at the report, which heavily criticised England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup, saying it does "not accept any criticism regarding the integrity of England's bid or any of the individuals involved."

And FA chairman Greg Dyke reiterated his call for it to be published in full, saying: "I'm surprised by Michael Garcia's comments. It makes a mockery of the whole process if the report doesn't reflect what he believed.

"It's a bit of a joke now. If the person doing the investigation is saying, 'Actually, what they're saying isn't what I said,' what's the point of it?"

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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