Garcia hits out at 'erroneous' FIFA report

Michael Garcia has blasted "erroneous representations of the facts" in his investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.

Former United States attorney Garcia led the investigation by FIFA's Ethics Committee into the bidding process for the next two World Cups, to be held in Russia and Qatar respectively.

The decision to award Qatar the 2022 showpiece was met with particular criticism over alleged corruption and staging the tournament in the country's extreme weather conditions. 

However, the report - published by Hans-Joachim Eckert, chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's independent Ethics Committee, on Thursday - cleared the Gulf state of any wrongdoing, seemingly ending the possibility of the bidding process being restarted.

The Football Association and England's bidding team for the 2018 World Cup also faced criticism, with the report claiming the FA had "damaged the integrity of the ongoing bidding process" by trying to get former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner onside with their application. Warner resigned from his role in 2011 amid bribery allegations.

FIFA's overall findings on Garcia's inquiry claimed that "the various incidents which might have occurred are not suited to compromise the integrity of the FIFA World Cup 2018/2022 bidding process as a whole".

Garcia has now released a statement claiming that the report does not fully represent the facts of his investigation and he could appeal the findings. 

"Today's decision by the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed in the investigatory chamber's report," the statement read. 

"I intend to appeal this decision to the FIFA appeal committee."

Garcia previously called for a full publication of the report, but a FIFA statement released by Eckert last month stated that to do so would be a "very difficult situation legally".

Meanwhile, Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has welcomed FIFA's ruling on Qatar 2022.

"I am satisfied that Qatar has been absolved of any misconduct in their bid for the 2022 World Cup," he said.

"The AFC has always stood by Qatar as we defend their right to host the 2022 World Cup, and this finding reaffirms our belief and support for the country.

"We would now be able to move on and work with Qatar to ensure that we deliver the best World Cup that Asia can offer."