FIFA Garcia Report & Online Sports Wagering Implications

Posted by: Mike Davis
FIFA Confederations Cup matches wagering investigation

As sports wagering fans prepare to bet on the next round of the FIFA Confederations Cup, they’ll have to do so while juggling the latest revelations by the Garcia report. FIFA just recently released all contents of the Garcia report – which aimed to uncover alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding. So what did the report uncover? Well, not what we were expecting.

Garcia Tells All

Michael J. Garcia is an independent ethics investigator that began investigation FIFA back in 2014 after critics of soccer’s governing body claimed that FIFA had engaged in nefarious activities to determine which countries would host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Although most online betting sites were expecting Garcia to deliver a bombshell, the results were less than revealing.

The full report came out Tuesday, when FIFA released the entire 430-page dossier. Previously, FIFA had only released a 42-page summary that briefly went over Garcia’s findings. However, Garcia was disgruntled by their summary, claiming that it did not accurately represent his work.

Garcia’s rebuttals further fueled sports wagering arguments that FIFA did have something to hide. However, once the documents were fully released, it was clear that no proof of major corruption could be found. Nevertheless, Garcia was adamant that some bidders did push their ethics to the limit.

“A number of executive committee members sought to obtain personal favors or benefits,” Garcia stated in the report. “That would enhance their stature within their home countries or confederations.”

Essentially, people were claiming that both Russia and Qatar pulled some under the table tactics to secure their bids for the World Cup. This was back in 2010 but since then, these claims have been widely discredited by most online betting sites.

Nonetheless, it should be noted that most of those individuals in the 2010 vote have been banned for unethical conducted, have been indicted by the US DOJ for corruption charges, or remain under the careful eye of Swiss federal prosecutors. Additionally, those Swiss prosecutors have 25 ongoing investigations that involve over 170 bank transactions which could have been involved in money laundering.

Bild, a German newspaper, was hoping to publish the most damning extracts from the full 430 page report. FIFA anticipated this move and in a PR stunt decided to release the entire findings on Tuesday stating: “for the sake of transparency, FIFA welcomes the news that this report has now been finally published.”

As aforementioned, the report isn’t as damaging as anticipated. However, that hasn’t done much to sway the opinion of FIFA critics, like journalist Peter Rossberg who claims that it would be “naïve to believe that people like Garcia or Borbely could have been able to find definite proof.”

“Especially with Qatar,” Rossberg continued. “There are many strong indicators which basically don’t allow for another conclusion.”

“It’s a general picture about greed, corruption and cover-ups.”

The Garcia report outlined how two million Swiss franc payments were sent into the account of the 10-year old daughter of a FIFA member. This wasn’t exactly breaking news as that same claim had surfaced nearly three years ago, revealing what Ricardo Teixeira did. Teixeira left FIFA in 2012 to avoid any repercussions.

The Garcia report also revealed how the Qatari Aspire Academy helped way FIFA officials who had voting rights. Three officials travelled to Brazil in private Qatari FA planes in 2010, just a few days out from the 2022 World Cup vote that ended up going in Qatar’s favor.

The report also revealed that Russia used similar tactics to earn their vote, although nothing too damning was found.

Nevertheless, Garcia has publically stated that he has lost complete confidence in FIFA’s ethics committee after they failed to release the report in its entirety. Garcia would go on to resign.

While the actions outlined in the Garcia report don’t imply collusion or game-fixing, those are the exact doubts that enter the mind of sports wagering fans. Not the kinds of doubt you want in your mind when looking over the soccer betting odds for this week’s FIFA Confederations Cup matches.