FIFA investigator Michael Garcia’s report into alleged corruption of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids has been delayed for several weeks.
The 53-year-old’s remit has been to lead an in-depth investigation into allegations of corruption across football’s world governing body, including the bidding processes for the tournaments awarded to Russia and Qatar.
Former US attorney Garcia set an original timeframe of late July for delivery of his confidential report to Joachim Eckert - the judge for the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee - but is now expected to do so in September.
It is not yet known why there has been such a significant delay.
Judge Eckert will use the investigation file to decide on possible sanctions against any of the nine bidding nations that competed for two tournaments, which were awarded in December 2010, should they be found to be corrupt.
In is not yet known either whether Garcia has taken into account the findings of the Sunday Times newspaper, which printed a detailed report that alleged Qatar’s bid to host the tournament was corrupt, with large bribes allegedly made to FIFA officials in exchange for their votes.
Qatar bid officials have denied any wrongdoing and say Qatari Mohammed Bin Hammam, the disgraced former FIFA committee member at the heart of the claims, played no official or unofficial role in their bid.
However, anyone found guilty of corruption could also face subsequent criminal prosecution.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter, meanwhile, has stressed that only his ruling board, and not judge Eckert, has the power to overturn a vote and order a re-run to host either the 2018 or 2022 tournament.