Belfast Telegraph

FA’s bid to stop Sepp Blatter will fail

The football Association's dramatic call for today's Fifa presidential election to be postponed — a stance later strongly backed by the Scottish FA and even Prince William — stands little chance of success.

Fifa insists that it is up to the 205 voting members who will assemble in Zurich's Hallenstadion for today's congress to change the agenda.

But it would require 75 per cent of the national associations to agree and yesterday saw a steady procession of declarations in favour of Sepp Blatter, despite the mounting allegations of corruption against members of Fifa's executive committee.

The FA reached its decision to advance an intention to abstain to one of a lonely voice of protest only on Monday night as a consequence of the extraordinary events of the past few days.

These have seen the suspension of Mohamed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner, both vice-presidents, while allegations of bribery are investigated, Jerome Valcke, Fifa's general secretary, remain in his post despite a leaked email in which he wrote that Qatar had “bought” the 2022 World Cup, and Blatter's brazen dismissal of criticisms of the organisation at a fractious press conference on Monday evening.

Prince William is "fully behind" the FA’s move, according to a spokesperson last night.

There were also reports that Uefa was pushing for Blatter to serve only a two-year term rather than the usual four.

The FA claims its decision is not aimed at any individual; rather it is about the process and the image created by an unopposed election at a time of growing crisis.

David Bernstein, chairman of the FA, said: “Events of the last few days have reinforced our views, and we call on Fifa and ask other national associations to support us with two initiatives.

“First, to postpone the election and give credibility to this process, so any alternative reforming candidate could have the opportunity to stand for president.

“Secondly, to appoint a genuinely independent external party to make recommendations regarding improved governance and compliance procedures and structures throughout the Fifa deci

sion making processes for consideration by the full membership. This has been a very damaging time for the reputation of Fifa and therefore the whole of football.”

Stewart Regan, chief executive of the SFA, believes the election should be postponed for three to six months.

He said: “Doing nothing is not a viable option.

“If we do nothing, we can see the election going ahead and Sepp Blatter being appointed for a period of four years.

“Clearly to have an election for four years we need to be sure that a process has been gone through and we would like the ethics committee to be appointed as a totally independent body to put to bed concerns about corruption within the organisation.

“The FA have come out and stated that they believe the election should be postponed. We are also of the same mind.”

Four of the 24-strong Ex-co are currently suspended, including Bin Hammam who would have otherwise contested the election, but the remaining 20 have all declared in favour of the now unchallenged incumbent.

Outside football, politicians from the UK, Ireland, Australia, Belgium and Poland joined Transparency International, a global anti-corruption pressure group, in asking Fifa to delay the election but with no impact on the world governing body.

Emirates became the third major sponsor, after Coca-Cola and Adidas, to express their dismay over recent developments.

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