FIFA has appointed former United States attorney Michael J. Garcia as lead prosecutor to investigate allegations of corruption in world football.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter confirmed the appointment by Twitter on Tuesday.
One of Garcia’s first tasks will be to inspect a Swiss court document on a World Cup kickbacks scandal to evaluate the behaviour of Blatter and other senior officials in the affair.
Garcia should have authority to order fresh probes into other old cases, including claims about how FIFA executive committee members awarded hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
FIFA also selected German judge Joachim Eckert to chair the judging chamber of its ethics court.
Garcia and Eckert are seen as key independent figures from outside the so-called “football family”, who can help restore FIFA’s credibility after bribery and vote-buying scandals.
Blatter’s ruling board agreed to create a two-chamber ethics court to prosecute cases more effectively after a panel of anti-corruption experts advising FIFA said previous cases were “insufficiently investigated.”
The 13-member panel, led by Swiss law professor Mark Pieth, wants Garcia to examine claims surrounding how Russia and Qatar came to get World Cup hosting rights in a December 2010 poll of FIFA’s executive committee.
Several senior FIFA officials were reported to have received payments or sought unethical favours from bidders, and Blatter has acknowledged that some breached bidding rules by joining a pact to back Qatar and the failed Spain-Portugal bid.