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English FA wants FIFA, Garcia to publish report on alleged World Cup bidding corruption

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LONDON - The English Football Association wants FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia's ongoing confidential report into alleged World Cup bidding corruption to be published.

"We as the FA will ask for it," English FA chairman Greg Dyke told a British parliamentary panel on Tuesday.

If FIFA and Garcia refuse to publish the dossier, "then I hope the Sunday Times gets hold of it," Dyke said.

The British newspaper has repeatedly alleged corruption in FIFA's choice of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup. Reporters Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake followed Dyke and were quizzed by the parliamentary committee with responsibility for sport.

On Monday, FIFA said Garcia's report should be delivered to FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert in September. Eckert is expected to decide on possible sanctions several weeks later.

Garcia and his investigation team have interviewed officials from all nine candidates, including England, which bid to host the 2018 or 2022 tournaments. FIFA's often-discredited executive committee chose Russia and Qatar, respectively, in secret ballots held in December 2010.

Garcia, a former U.S. Attorney in New York, was appointed by FIFA in 2012 with an unlimited budget to investigate corruption claims. The World Cup bid contests topped his agenda.

Still, FIFA and Garcia have never published his investigation files.

Calvert told lawmakers that he understood that FIFA President Sepp Blatter will decide if Garcia's World Cup report is published.

Garcia's past probes include bribery and financial wrongdoing implicating former FIFA board member Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar, and former World Cup marketing agency ISL, which paid tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks before collapsing into bankruptcy in 2001.

The ISL case provoked Blatter's predecessor, Joao Havelange, to resign last year as FIFA honorary president, and Havelange's former son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira to resign as head of Brazil's World Cup organizing committee.

Garcia's work was criticized by the Sunday Times' Blake, who claimed he ignored documents the newspaper had and offered.

"His investigation is fundamentally flawed," Blake told lawmakers. "He is not looking at the relevant evidence."

Calvert said the newspaper knew of collusion between the Russia and Qatar bids days before the FIFA vote, including a meeting between Bin Hammam amd Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Deals between 2018 and 2022 candidates were barred by FIFA's bidding rules and are likely to be sanctioned by Eckert.

The British media's work investigating senior FIFA officials was the main reason for England's unpopularity in world football, Dyke said.

Dyke clashed with Blatter last month, at a hostile meeting of UEFA members in Brazil, where he said it was "totally unacceptable" for the FIFA leader to brand the British media racist over reports that African and Asian football officials took cash gifts from Bin Hammam.

On Tuesday, Dyke acknowledged that Blatter will win a fifth FIFA presidential term next May if he stands for re-election.

Dyke also described the FIFA congress, held on June 11 in Sao Paulo, as "something out of North Korea."

"Only that in the sense it was 'Hail to the leader,'" said the former head of the BBC state broadcaster. "The British aren't like that, quite the opposite really."

England, which last month withdrew from the 2019 Women's World Cup contest, will not bid for any FIFA tournaments while Blatter stays in office, Dyke confirmed.

In a frank, hour-long session, Dyke said it was a "flawed decision" for FIFA to choose a summer World Cup in Qatar.

Dyke even questioned whether the emirate could stand beside South Africa and Russia, which FIFA picked as World Cup hosts to help develop football in new regions.

"I'm not sure that argument is strong enough for Qatar when you look at the downsides," he said.

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