FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia has submitted his report into alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests.
The Sunday Times reported in June that it received ''hundreds of millions'' of documents which it claims reveal that disgraced former FIFA executive committee member Mohamed bin Hammam had made payments to football officials in return for votes for Qatar.
The claims led to widespread criticism and a number of FIFA's sponsors -- including Sony -- demanding that international governing body ensured it abides by "its principles of integrity, ethics and fair play," with FIFA releasing a statement on Friday stating that Garcia's report recommended taking action "with respect to certain individuals."
Statement issued by the independent Ethics Committee's investigatory chamber on Inquiry into the 2018/22 bid process: http://t.co/G2QuRGVfVJ
- FIFA Media (@fifamedia) September 5, 2014
The statement read: "The report sets forth detailed factual findings; reaches conclusions concerning further action with respect to certain individuals; identifies issues to be referred to other FIFA committees; and makes recommendations for future bidding processes."
Some FIFA critics hope Garcia's work will lead to Qatar being stripped of the 2022 tournament, and lead to an investigation over the legitimacy of Russia winning the rights to host the 2022 competition.
However, the FIFA statement did not specify if Garcia has recommended putting the Russian and Qatari hosting rights into question.
Garcia's report, delayed since July, will now be examined by FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert, who can impose sanctions. It is unclear if Eckert has authority to remove hosts or order re-votes.
FIFA gave Garcia and Eckert unlimited time and money to complete their probe of a subject which has dogged FIFA even during campaigning before the December 2010 votes.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has insisted only his ruling executive committee, which chose Russia and Qatar, can change hosting decisions.
Eckert could apply sanctions against any of the nine bid candidates, their staffers or officials who were FIFA executive committee members in 2010.
Garcia submitted a 350-page report, and further documents about the Russian and United States bids, FIFA said. Garcia and his investigations team met with officials from all nine bid candidates in a tour which started last October.
Russia beat England and joint bids from Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium to win 2018 hosting rights. Qatar beat the U.S. by 14 votes to eight in a final round of voting for the 2022 tournament, with Australia, Japan and South Korea eliminated in earlier rounds.
Blatter has since acknowledged it was a mistake to run two contests at the same time.