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FIFA Says Eckert Won’t Face Charges For Disclosing Witness Names

FIFA Says Eckert Won’t Face Charges For Disclosing Witness Names

Judge Hans-Joachim Eckert’s summary of a longer document provided information about two witnesses that made them easily identifiable.

Soccer’s global governing body said the German judge who led a review of an investigation into the award of hosting rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups won’t face disciplinary charges for revealing witnesses’ identities.

Judge Hans-Joachim Eckert’s summary of a longer document gave information that two witnesses complained led to their names becoming public despite the confidentiality promised as part of the investigation.

Disciplinary Committee chairman Claudio Sulser “reviewed all provided material and stressed that since the participants in the investigation had gone public with their own media activities long before the publication of the statement of the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber Judge Eckert, the breach of confidentiality claim had no substance,” FIFA said today in an e-mailed statement.

“What is more, no names were mentioned in the statement and any information provided was of a general nature.”

Phaedra Al Majid and Bonita Mersiades, former communications staff members with the Qatari and Australian bids, met with Michael Garcia, a former U.S. attorney, during his investigation of the award of hosting rights to Russia and Qatar in December 2010.

Eckert’s report provided enough details about the women to make them easily identifiable, they said in separate appeals to FIFA last month. Eckert rejected calls to publish the full report in part to protect the rights of the people mentioned in it.

Garcia’s report allowed FIFA to clear 2018 host Russia and Qatar, the 2022 winning bidder.

The former U.S. Attorney for Southern District of New York later said Eckert’s summary had “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions” and he would take his complaints to the appeals committee of soccer’s governing body.

While the investigation by FIFA’s ethics committee found that some bidders gave excess gifts or complied with improper requests for funds or jobs before the December 2010 vote, the violations weren’t enough to reopen the process, according to a 42-page summary report released Nov. 13.

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