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FIFA Files Criminal Complaint Over 2018, 2022 Soccer World Cup Bidding

FIFA President Joseph Blatter (second right) is flanked in Zurich, Switzerland, on Dec. 2, 2010, by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov (right) and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani after the announcement that Russia will host the soccer World Cup in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
Michael Probst

Soccer's governing body says it has lodged a criminal complaint against individuals in connection with the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, days after clearing the winning bids of corruption.

"In particular there seem to be grounds for suspicion that, in isolated cases, international transfers of assets with connections to Switzerland took place, which merit examination by the criminal prosecution authorities," FIFA said in a statement.

The announcement was made less than a week after a FIFA report cleared Russia, the host in 2018, and Qatar, the 2022 host, of corruption in their successful bids to host the tournaments. That report, by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, was excoriated by U.S. lawyer Michael Garcia, upon whose work it was based.

Garcia said Eckert's report had many errors, adding that he would appeal to FIFA the German judge's decision to close the case. FIFA, which had sealed Garcia's 430-page report, said today it would make the report available to the Swiss attorney general.

"Unlike FIFA's bodies, the Swiss criminal prosecution authorities have the ability to conduct investigations under application of criminal procedural coercive measures," FIFA's statement said.

As we previously reported, England was expected to win the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup, which went to Russia. England received two votes. Qatar beat out rivals including Japan and the U.S. Almost immediately there were accusations of corruption surrounding the winning bids.

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Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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