The newly published full version of a report on the FIFA 2018/2022 bidding process alleges the former UK PM tried to persuade South Korea to trade votes in a clear violation of FIFA ethics rules. The publication comes after the report was leaked to German media.
The investigation into corruption allegations and other wrongdoings by bidders to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups was carried out in 2014 by the former chairman of the FIFA Ethics Committee Investigatory Chamber, US prosecutor Michael Garcia.
Until now only a brief summary of an over 400-page document was available to the public. However, after its contents were allegedly leaked to German tabloid Bild, football’s governing body officially released the document in its entirety late Tuesday, “for the sake of transparency.”
The report alleges that the fate of England’s 2018 FIFA bid was decided at the highest level of the British government, with former Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William being personally implicated in breaching FIFA ethics code by colluding with officials from South Korea, which sought to host the tournament in 2022.
Cameron reportedly met with then-FIFA vice president Mong-Joon Chung not long before the December 2010 vote and “asked Mr. Chung to vote for England’s bid.” Chung allegedly promised to cast a vote for England on condition the English delegation returned the favor and backed South Korea as 2022 World Cup host.
The clandestine conversation is said to have taken place in Prince William’s room at a posh Swiss hotel, with the Duke of Cambridge himself reportedly having been present at the meeting.
Prince William is not the only British royal to be featured in the report. According to one of the most eyebrow-raising allegations cited there, the former president of the South American Football Confederation, Nicolas Leoz asked the English delegation if it was possible to be bestowed with an honorary knighthood.
Witnesses to discussions between the English delegation and Leoz’s representatives claim that at one of the meetings the latter hinted that “it would be nice if at some point Dr Leoz would get to meet the Queen.”
The report, however, notes that the chief executive of England’s bid, Andy Anson, “was never a party to any conversation where Dr Leoz personally asked anyone connected with England 2018 for a knighthood, or indeed for any award or honor.”
Meanwhile, the report appears to clear Russia of the allegations that it had won the right to host the 2018 World Cup by bribing officials for votes.
“There is no evidence in this record to suggest that the Russia Bid Committee attempted to exert undue influence on any FIFA ExCo [executive committee] Members in order to secure their votes,” it states.