FIFA rejects Michael Garcia's appeal against summary of World Cup probe

FIFA's ethics investigator Michael Garcia has lost his appeal against the summary of his findings that cleared Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The American attorney announced his intention to appeal after German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert published the 42-page summary on Nov. 13.

Garcia said the document -- which concluded that any rule breaches by the bidding countries were "of very limited scope" -- contained "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions."

But on Tuesday, FIFA's appeals committee ruled that Eckert's statement was not a legally binding decision and therefore could not be appealed against.

In a statement, world football's governing body said: "The FIFA appeal committee... has concluded that the appeal lodged by the chairman of the investigatory chamber, Michael J. Garcia, against the statement of the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the independent ethics committee, Hans-Joachim Eckert, is not admissible.

"The said statement about the report on the inquiry into the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup bidding process does not constitute a decision (article 30, art. 73 as well as art. 78-80 of the FIFA Code of Ethics), and as such is neither legally binding nor appealable.

"Further, the FIFA appeal committee reiterated that the FIFA Code of Ethics is designed to sanction individuals in cases in which the code has been violated. The said statement is not addressed to one or several specific individual(s) and as such does not contain any sanctions in accordance with art. 30 of the FCE."

On Nov.20, FIFA announced that it would further review the 2018 and 2022 World Cup corruption investigation.

It said Domenico Scala, the head of its auditing committee, would examine Garcia's full 430-page confidential report and then decide whether to turn over any evidence to FIFA's executive committee.

The decision to hand the documents to the Swiss businessman came a week after Eckert had effectively closed the case against Russia and Qatar.

Meanwhile, complaints by two World Cup bid whistleblowers that their confidentiality had been breached by Eckert's findings were also turned down on Tuesday.

Phaedra Almajid, who worked for the Qatar 2022 bid team until 2010, and Bonita Mersiades, who worked for Australia's 2022 bid, complained that the findings contained enough information to make them easily identifiable.