Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Some Questions for Michael Garcia

When Michael Garcia (pictured above), FIFA's new investigator at the head of its ethics committee, announced that he would be looking into several instances of alleged corruption in FIFA, he raised expectations (see Garcia here in German TV). He also opened the door to a number of questions.

First, a review of the proposed investigations:
  • Mohammed bin Hammam, currently re-suspended by FIFA for alleged bribery
  • Awarding of the 2018/2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar
  • Awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany
  • Conduct of Sepp Blatter
  • Fallout from the so-called ISL scandal
These subjects are not all independent of one another, of course. There are other candidates to be included in such a list but not as yet publicly mentioned by Garcia.

The questions that I'd like to ask Garcia following from his comments start with these:
  • What is the product of an investigation? A report? Findings?
  • Do your investigations have a "terms of reference" or a "probable cause" statement that initiates action? If so, will you release them? If not, how do you avoid charges of ad hoc decision making?
  • What is the process that you will use to conduct an investigation? Public evidentiary hearings? On-record interviews? What else?
  • What is the time frame of these investigations? When will you report your findings?
  • What resources do you have at your disposal and how will they be allocated across these topics?
I have the sense that Garcia is making this up as he goes along, which may be a necessary feature of FIFA's reform process. It is entering uncharted waters. However, how Garcia and his committee makes things up matters -- they are redesigning an airplane as it is flying. It is not an easy task.

It is not an overstatement to say that how Garcia handles these investigations will go a long way to sustaining FIFA's tenuous efforts at reform. People who are paying attention and with access can help that process along by asking questions such as these, and expecting answers.


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