Friday 6 December 2019

Jim Boyce does not believe UEFA will kick FIFA into touch over the decision to play the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar, despite threats from Germany this week.

Jim Boyce does not believe UEFA will kick FIFA into touch over the decision to play the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar, despite threats from Germany this week.

And the FIFA Vice President believes there may be legal reasons preventing the full publication of the controversial Garcia report into FIFA voting procedures.

The world of football has been in turmoil since Russia was awarded the 2018 finals and Qatar the following tournament at the same time, as speculation mounted that open and transparent procedures were not followed.

Former New York District Attorney Michael Garcia (inset) launched an investigation into the double vote in his capacity as investigator for the Ethics Committee within FIFA.

He sent his findings in a 350-page report to judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, also of the Ethics Committee, who in his summary cleared both the Russian and Qatari Fas of any wrongdoing.

Garcia protested that his report had been misconstrued, calls for the entire 350-page report followed and the protests have been most vocal from Europe.

President of the German Football League Dr Reinhard Rauball questioned the validity of UEFA staying within FIFA and former FA Chairman David Bernstein proposed a boycott of the 2018 finals in Russia.

But Boyce, a popular figure within FIFA, has poured cold water on the plans for either a boycott or a split, and believes European nations are swimming against the tide of world football.

"Boycotts don't solve anything and I don't see UEFA leaving FIFA," said the former IFA Vice President. "If people don't want to play football... but I don't see that happening, if someone has a complaint, it should be solved around a table.

"I think there is an agenda being driven by the English press here, and I feel there is a bit of ill feeling towards both the English FA and UEFA from the rest of the footballing world.

"I have only been in my current position for the last three and a half years, and I finish in six months, but even in that time I have seen some reforms introduced that were needed.


"50 per cent of ExCo (FIFA's Executive Committee) members have been replaced since 2011, including Jack Warner and Mohammed Bin Hammam.

"If, sadly, someone has behaved inappropriately, they shouldn't be in their position and deserve to be removed, but let's not overlook some of the good work done by FIFA.

"75 per cent of FIFA funds go towards the development of the game all around the world, and FIFA recently donated £1m towards the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

"But because England missed out on the World Cup Finals, there has been an anti-FIFA agenda from the English press and that's unfortunate.

"Don't get me wrong, FIFA should never have awarded the two World Cup Finals to Russia and Qatar at the same time, and I also believe there should be set term for the Presidency of FIFA (Sepp Blatter will stand for a fifth term as President next year).

"Hans-Joachim Eckhart published the findings of the Garcia report, Michael felt more should have come out but apparently there are legalities at FIFA dictating what they can put in the public domain.

"But FIFA has said that, following the investigation by Garcia, if individuals are guilty of any wrongdoings, they will be dealt with.

"It's not perfect, and I'm not defending anyone, but a lot has been done at FIFA level already and I hope we can get back to talking about football again soon."

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