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FIFA prosecutor Garcia urges less secrecy in corruption cases to help restore public faith

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ZURICH — FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia wants more details published about football corruption cases.

Speaking at FIFA headquarters Friday, Garcia described a "disconnect" in public confidence because of secrecy rules demanded by the soccer body's code of ethics.

FIFA rules require his reports investigating the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests and FIFA executive committee members' behavior to stay secret.

"I think that is a disservice in many ways because people are skeptical and want information," Garcia told a FIFA-hosted conference on ethics in sport.

The former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said that office was respected for its openness and track record.

"There could be little support from a public that was so little informed," said Garcia, comparing American criminal process with FIFA's ethics court.

The FIFA ethics code was revamped in 2012 — before Garcia was appointed — in reforms ordered after a succession of bribery and vote-buying scandals. The process was overseen by FIFA's legal committee and approved by football officials at their annual congress of 209 member associations.

In previous Garcia prosecutions, charges brought against now-banned officials Mohamed bin Hammam and Vernon Manilal Fernando were never explained by FIFA or the independent ethics committee.

Garcia said cases had been explained in just "a single line" of a news release. He said the FIFA code could be revised to give more details of "charges, decisions, and basis of decisions."

"The goal has to be instilling confidence in the process beyond any particular result or any particular case," Garcia said.

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