Two whistleblowers from the Garcia Report on possible corruption during the bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup’s have lodged a complaint within FIFA against Hans-Joachim Eckert because his summary of the Garcia Report contained information that made them easily identifiable.
Phaedra Almajid of Qatar 2022 and Bonita Mersiades of Australia 2022 were assured that their identities would be protected but were quickly found out based on that info in Eckert’s summary. In Almajid’s letter to Michael Garcia of FIFA’s Ethics Committee, she said the following:
“Not only was Herr Eckert’s summary a crude, cynical and fundamentally erroneous description of me and the information and materials I provided your investigation, it directly breached FIFA’s assurances of my confidentiality.
“Although Herr Eckert did not name me in his report, he directly identified me and my information by connecting it to my publicly-reported statements three years ago.
“Within hours of publication of Herr Eckert’s summary, I had already been widely identified as one of the ‘whistleblowers’ in German and British media.
“Identifying me and falsely discrediting me sends a message to anyone who may think to come forward that their credibility and protection will be in jeopardy for the rest of their lives.
“Confidentiality was crucial to my co-operation with your investigation, considering my personal circumstances, particularly the safety of my two sons and me.
“I have taken great personal risks to stand up for the truth in a highly politicised atmosphere. However I have found myself betrayed and denigrated for being courageous enough to come forward with critical information.”
In addition to the fact that Almajid and Mersiades are complaining to the same department who indirectly outed them, I have two issues with FIFA’s handling of whistleblowers. One, this is going to make many people seriously consider not providing information to FIFA in the future due to risk of being outed. If Almajid is already fearing for her and her family’s life, who knows what can happen. Two, I thought FIFA’s entire point of not releasing the Garcia Report was because they didn’t want to reveal names of whistleblowers. Now that that’s out of the way, may as well release the Garcia Report. Well, let’s be honest, you and I both know that wasn’t the actual reason for not revealing the Garcia Report.