Scudamore blasts England criticism

Published: Friday 14th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has claimed it is “grossly unfair” for England to have borne the brunt of criticism in a FIFA ethics investigation into World Cup bidding.

Pressure is growing for FIFA to publish the full report by investigator Michael Garcia, who on Thursday announced he is to challenge the decision by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert to clear Qatar and Russia to host the 2022 and 2018 World Cups.

Eckert’s findings said there was no reason to re-run the bidding – and criticised England 2018 for its relationship with disgraced former FIFA executive member Jack Warner.

Scudamore has joined calls for the Garcia report to be published and told Sky Sports News: “It tells you a little bit about international football politics that the people who were singled out for most criticism in the report were the English. I think that’s probably grossly unfair.

“It is really unfair to pick on the English, but clearly the whole process has not been great and we need to somehow get the way these things are done changed for the future.”

Scudamore was part of the England 2018 bid delegation who attended the vote in December 2010.

He added: “The Garcia report should be out there in full, it’s the only way that we are in any way going to be able to move on really. If there is a report that has been done by an eminent investigator, really that report should be published in full so that we can all see it.”

Eckert said he planned to hold talks with Garcia but admitted he was surprised by the American lawyer’s reaction.

Eckert told Press Association Sport: “Yes I was surprised. I will talk to Garcia but until then I will make no more statements.”

Meanwhile two other senior FIFA executive members have joined Britain’s FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce in calling for the Garcia report to be made public – something Eckert said in a statement on Thursday that he would not do.

American FIFA member Sunil Gulati and FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb from the Cayman Islands issued a joint statement saying: “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 into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups 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.”

Garcia said he will go to FIFA’s appeals committee because Eckert’s summary of his investigation contained “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions”.

He will also have the opportunity to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, even though it is not exactly clear what he is specifically appealing against.

Meanwhile, Scudamore said the Premier League remained totally opposed to the Qatar 2022 World Cup being played in January – and that November/December should be “the very latest” if it is moved to avoid high summer temperatures.

He said: “If the Qatar World Cup is going to change – and we still believe that it is a summer tournament and it should be played in May, June, July or August – then our view is very simple: if we’re going to have to stop and start our season the sooner we do that the better.

“We would rather it be played in September, or October, or November – December at the very, very latest. It’s going to be huge interruption to our season and a huge interruption to every season quite frankly across Europe, and we hope that if there’s still any way that FIFA can avoid that interruption, that would be our preferred choice.”

Published: Friday 14th November 2014 by The News Editor

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