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FIFA Requests Criminal Investigation Into World Cup Bidding

BERNE, Switzerland (CelebrityAccess) — FIFA, the governing body for world football (or soccer, if you are an American) has filed a criminal complaint with the Swiss attorney general over what they describe as "possible misconduct" with the determination of host nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The criminal complaint follows on the heels of an internal investigation by Michael Garcia, chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee and on the recommendation of FIFA's ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert. The investigation centered on suspicions that, in isolated cases, international transfers of assets with connections to Switzerland took place and may have had an impact on the decisions to host the World Cup in Qatar and Russia, FIFA said.

No additional details about the investigation or the nature of the alleged asset transfers was revealed.

Perhaps surprisingly in light of the concerns of corruption in the bidding process, FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Eckert both said that the investigation would not impact the decision to award the World Cup to Russia and Qatar.

“In particular, the effects of these occurrences on the bidding process as a whole were far from reaching any threshold that would require returning to the bidding process, let alone reopening it,” Eckert wrote in his report.

However, FIFA's own investigator Michael Garcia on Thursday took exception to FIFA characterization of the findings of his report, saying: "Today's decision by the Chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed in the Investigatory Chamber's report. I intend to appeal this decision to the FIFA Appeal Committee." – Staff Writers