UPDATE: FIFA releases Garcia
Garcia is an associate judge on the New York State Court of Appeals but he is best known in New York law enforcement as the U.S. attorney who investigated the prostitution ring that led to the resignation of then-New York governor Eliot Spitzer.
On the soccer front, Garcia was the FIFA investigator charged with looking into the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights won by Russia and Qatar. When FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert refused to release Garcia's report and, according to Garcia, misconstrued his findings with "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations," Garcia quit.
Until now, the "Garcia Report" has never seen the light of day. With a new FIFA administration -- new president, new general secretary, news ethics heads -- it was not long before someone would get a hold of a copy of the report.
Bild reporter Peter Rossberg claims to have obtained the 430-page report and while said he said in a Facebook post it "does not provide the proof that the 2018 or 2022 World Cup was bought" the findings look "like a puzzle that only makes sense when all parts are put together."
One of the first scoops: “Two million dollars from an unknown source arrived in the savings account of the 10-year-old daughter of a FIFA member."
No one has assumed that FIFA would strip Russia or Qatar of its hosting rights even if some smoking gun emerged from the report or one of the ongoing criminal investigations in the United States, Switzerland or France.
But publication of findings of the "Garcia Report" and more criminal indictments will be a further embarrassment to FIFA, which has never gotten out from under the cloud of corruption that hung over it for years.
They cannot come at a worse time for Russia, whose doping scandal has now hit close to home with reports that its entire 2014 World Cup team is under investigation, and Qatar, which is in a diplomatic fight for its life with rival Gulf states who accuse it of being too close to Iran and sponsoring terrorism.
430 Seiten, die in die Abgründe der #FIFA führen...#GarciaReport #katar pic.twitter.com/Mcg7Dkk7cG— Peter Rossberg (@PRossberg) June 26, 2017
To reiterate, any new reports or findings are going to do nothing to the power of the current FIFA administration or security of Russia or Qatar as World Cup hosts, but the drip-drip-drip of the revelations will remain a huge distraction just like the drip-drip-drip of news leaks on the Russian investigations or life in the current White House are a huge problem for the administration at which Garcia recently interviewed.
When you include the doping, I'm betting history will show Russia was the dirtier of the two, but Russia 2018 is too close to stop. Qatar 2022 on the other hand is looking more like a place holder. The bribes are shameful, but the bigger foolishness looks to be buying a 10 year call on the political stability of any middle eastern state. Greed begat naivete.