The Guardian is reporting on Tuesday that members of FIFA’s executive committee considered a plot to remove Michael Garcia, the former FBI investigator who now heads the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee, after he turned up unannounced in Zurich last week to speak to those members of the executive committee who were around during the controversial bidding process that led to FIFA awarding the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
According to the report, some members of the 24-man executive committee were unsettled by Garcia’s presence and even sought to have him forcibly removed from his position. But FIFA Vice President Jim Boyce, Britain’s executive committee representative, said that the plan was never raised officially, and that had it been, he would have been forced to reconsider his own position at the world governing body organization. "It is something that did go on but I don't know who was involved. There was a bit of informal chit chat," Boyce said. In a statement, he added: “If this had been proposed at the exco meeting or I thought for one moment Garcia would be removed in any fashion from carrying out his full investigation, I and others would be aghast and would have had to consider our positions because things at FIFA have been improving greatly."
Indeed, according to the report, some executive committee members believe that removing Garcia would have cast FIFA in an even worse light. FIFA saw its reputation suffer after awarding the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in 2010 to Russia and Qatar, respectively, amid allegations that votes were bought by the prospective event organizers from members of FIFA’s executive committee. In the wake of the scandal, several former FIFA members, including Jack Warner and Mohammed Bin Hammam, either stepped down or were forced out of the organization.
The FIFA ethics committee was instated in 2011 to prevent potential vote-rigging from occurring in the future, while Garcia was appointed in 2012 as the committee’s enforcer.