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FIFA probe into Qatar World Cup vote may be over by June

A man is silhouetted as he makes his way past the main entrance of FIFA headquarters, the Home of FIFA, in Zurich October 20, 2010. REUTERS/
A man is silhouetted as he makes his way past the main entrance of FIFA headquarters, the Home of FIFA, in Zurich October 20, 2010. REUTERS/

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - FIFA may conclude its investigation into the voting procedure that resulted in the 2022 World Cup being awarded to Qatar before this year's finals starts in June, secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Friday.

"An investigation is being run by (New York lawyer) Michael Garcia and the commission is interviewing all those involved in the case and it will soon be delivered to the (FIFA) ethics committee that is going to decide if any measures should be taken," Valcke told reporters.

"That will be soon, maybe we will have a decision before the 2014 World Cup," he said after a four-day trip to Brazil.

FIFA's investigation was launched last year into alleged corruption surrounding the voting procedure for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.

The choice of Qatar was controversial given that the small Arab nation has little footballing culture and summer temperatures can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius).

Garcia, a former New York attorney, was empowered by FIFA's Congress to "leave no stone unturned" in his quest to discover if there was any wrongdoing in the voting process.

As FIFA's first independent ethics investigator and prosecutor, he was also empowered to investigate the votes-for-cash scandal that led to long-serving FIFA officials Jack Warner and Mohammed Bin Hammam leaving the organization.

FIFA's executive committee meets in Sao Paulo in June in the days before the start of the 2014 World Cup, which will be held in 12 cities across Brazil. Garcia's report could be ready by then, according to Valcke.

(Writing by Andrew Downie in Sao Paulo; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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