Football: Fifa's chief investigator steps up probe into controversial World Cup votes

LONDON (REUTERS) - Fifa's chief investigator is escalating his inquiry into the voting procedures for the 2018 and 2022 soccer World Cups which have been dogged by controversy.

Michael Garcia, a former New York attorney and head of the Fifa ethics committee's investigative unit, will visit every country directly involved in the voting for the finals awarded to Russia for 2018 and Qatar for 2022.

The voting procedure for 2022 has never escaped widespread allegations of corruption or rule-breaking. Fifa will this week consider whether to move the tournament to a new date, away from the fierce heat of a Qatari summer.

"I will conduct interviews in various places and I hope that those who have some information, even if they are not obliged to give me some, will agree to talk to me," Garcia told weekly magazine France Football on Tuesday.

"My goal is to submit a report that covers the World Cup bidding and awarding process."

Garcia has spent months compiling material and information and will begin his world tour in England on Oct 9, France Football reported on Tuesday.

England had high hopes of winning the right to stage the 2018 finals but was eliminated in the first round of voting.

An inquiry into the vote was held by the British parliament in 2011 following widespread allegations of bribery, corruption and political influence, all banned under Fifa's strict guidelines.

Since 2010, a number of high-profile members have left the executive committee following allegations of corruption.