14 Nov 2014

FIFA clears Russia and Qatar

5:40 pm on 14 November 2014

Football's World Cup tournaments of 2018 and 2022 are set to go ahead in Russia and Qatar as planned after FIFA's ethics committee said it could find no grounds for reopening the controversial bidding process.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter

Fifa president Sepp Blatter Photo: PHOTOSPORT

In a long-awaited report, the committee criticised England's bid for the 2018 tournament for "inappropriate requests" from Jack Warner, a FIFA powerbroker at the time, and said that Australia's bid for 2022 included "certain indications of potentially problematic conduct of specific individuals".

FIFA and Qatar World Cup organisers have been fending off allegations of corruption ever since the Gulf state was awarded the 2022 tournament but, looking at the bid process for both tournaments, the report said: "The occurrences at issue were... of only very limited scope.

But the report also said FIFA's ethics investigator Michael Garcia intended to open formal investigations against individuals, who were not named.

The report added that there was no suggestion that FIFA president Sepp Blatter had acted improperly, saying the one concrete allegation against him was "demonstrably false".

Meanwhile an Australian federal policitician Nick Xenophon says FIFA should refund the $50 million Australia spent on a farcical bidding process.

He says Australia was ripped off by Fifa.

The Australian government spent $50 million on Australia's bid but Australia gained just one vote.

Xenophon has described the ethics committee report as a whitewash and a "sick farce".

American lawyer Michael Garcia, who wrote the original report says the committee's summary was a "materially incomplete and erroneous" interpretation of his own findings and vowed to appeal Fifa's attempt to declare the matter closed.