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Oct 8, 2013

Michael Garcia details bid probe

UEFA President Michel Platini refused to discuss whether the Qatar World Cup in 2022 will be moved to winter

ZURICH -- FIFA ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia expects his investigations into the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to last into next year.

FIFA set up World Cup tack force

Garcia's U.S.-based law firm on Tuesday stressed the limited mandate of his work, which some FIFA critics had hoped could lead to re-running the process which gave the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 event to Qatar.

"It is not our role to determine the venue or timing of the World Cup," said the statement from Kirkland and Ellis LLP, adding that the probe is "likely to extend at least several months into 2014."

Russia and Qatar won votes of FIFA's executive committee in December 2010. There have been allegations of misconduct during the process, and Garcia wants to speak to all the bid teams.

Garcia is expected in England this week to speak with members of The FA's 2018 bid team, the first of a series of visits to the 11 countries involved in nine separate bids.

FIFA has begun a lengthy consultation period to consider moving the dates of the 2022 World Cups after President Sepp Blatter suggested it was not possible to play in the searing Qatari heat in June and July.

Qatar's big-spending bid and campaign tactics have been scrutinized ever since the 2010 vote, and FIFA critics question why some of Blatter's scandal-hit executive committee members ignored clear warnings about the heat.

Garcia will file a report to FIFA's ethics court to decide on any possible sanctions.

"Members of the Investigatory Chamber intend to speak with and request information from representatives of every bid team that vied to host the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup," Kirkland and Ellis said. "The fact that we request a meeting with members of a particular bid team does not mean that any specific allegation has been made by or against that team or anyone associated with it."

Garcia's Swiss deputy, Cornel Borbely, will lead the questioning of the American and Russian bids "to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest."

Qatar defeated the United States 14-8 in a final round of voting.

Russia barred Garcia, a former U.S. Attorney, in April in retaliation for his previous work prosecuting a Russian arms dealer.

Garcia's statement on Tuesday reminded soccer officials they are obliged by the FIFA ethics code to cooperate with his requests for help.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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