FIFA rejects whistleblower complaints over World Cup bid report summary
FIFA has rejected complaints from whistleblowers over the conduct of Hans-Joachim Eckert alleging that the Ethics Committee chairman deliberately breached anonymity clauses in a summary of a report into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.
Phaedra Almajid, who worked for the Qatar 2022 bid team before losing her job in 2010, and Bonita Mersiades, who worked for Australia's 2022 bid, separately lodged formal complaints against Eckert's 42-page summary of Michael Garcia's independent inquiry.
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Almajid provided evidence of wrongdoing into both bids under the condition of anonymity -- a condition she believes was deliberately breached in Eckert's summary -- and she claims she will live the rest of her life in fear after receiving threats against her and her children.
However, a FIFA statement released on Tuesday -- which did not name Almajid or Mersiades -- says that Eckert will not be investigated as world football's governing body alleges that the whistleblowers had already revealed their identities to the media before the summary was published.
"Regarding the complaints brought by the participants in the 2018-2022 inquiry against... Hans-Joachim Eckert, FIFA's Disciplinary Committee chairman [Claudio Sulser] has concluded that there were no grounds to justify the opening of disciplinary proceedings," the statement read.
"The chairman reviewed all provided material and stressed that since the participants in the investigation had gone public with their own media activities long before the publication of the statement of the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber Judge Eckert, the breach of confidentiality claim had no substance.
"What is more, no names were mentioned in the statement and any information provided was of a general nature. Thus, there was no divulgence of any information of a confidential nature."
The FIFA statement continued: "The statement of Judge Eckert also mentions that the report from the chairman and deputy chairman of the investigatory chamber did not rely on any information or material received from the participants in the investigation in reaching any conclusion in the report.
"Furthermore, the chairman of the investigatory chamber, Michael J. Garcia, in his letter to Disciplinary Committee chairman Claudio Sulser, concluded that the complaints by the participants in the investigation were without merit and that, as far as he was concerned, there had been no infringements by Eckert."
Eckert's summary of Garcia's 18-month investigation cleared Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, having found no serious breaches of bidding rules.
Almajid told Sky Sports News on Nov. 19: "Do I regret being the Qatar whistleblower? It has cost me personally, it has cost me emotionally -- I know for a fact I will be looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life.
"It has cost me my credibility and most importantly it has cost me the security of both me and my children. However I did witness something and I believe I did have to say what I had witnessed."