FIFA confirms criminal complaint over World Cup bids

FIFA has lodged a criminal complaint over "possible misconduct in connection with the hosting rights of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups".

A report into the bidding process for the next two World Cups, to be held in Russia and Qatar respectively, was published last Thursday by Hans-Joachim Eckert, chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee.

The report, which cleared both host nations of corruption, was criticised by Michael Garcia, who led the investigation by FIFA's Ethics Committee, stating the report contained "materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts".

It also stated revealed that there were "certain indications of potentially problematic conduct of specific individuals".

Subsequently, Eckert recommended to FIFA president Sepp Blatter that a criminal complaint over potential misconduct be made, which the governing body then filed to the Attorney General of Switzerland on Tuesday.

A statement by FIFA read: "Judge Eckert has recommended to the FIFA President - in line with the FIFA Code of Ethics - that a criminal complaint be lodged with the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland in Berne.

"This criminal complaint has been lodged today. The subject of the criminal complaint is the possible misconduct of individual persons in connection with the awarding of the hosting rights of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups investigated by Michael Garcia, chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee.

"In particular there seem to be grounds for suspicion that, in isolated cases, international transfers of assets with connections to Switzerland took place, which merit examination by the criminal prosecution authorities."

FIFA will make Garcia's report available to the Swiss courts.

In an interview with FIFA, Eckert reiterated his stance that the report does not provide enough evidence that the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups should be re-opened, but admitted that "there are indications of potential illegal or irregular conduct in certain areas, which must now be followed up both internally by FIFA and by the relevant national criminal prosecution authorities."