The English Football Association has been cast out into the cold by Fifa after delegates voted to keep president Sepp Blatter in office for another four years and passed new legislation that could deny England any future World Cups.
Metro UK – There was little doubt that Blatter would be elected on Wednesday, however the resounding number of votes (186 out of 203) received clearly shows where alliances lie within the organization. The strength of ill-feeling towards England, whose motion to postpone the unopposed election of Blatter as Fifa president was defeated earlier in the day, appeared to be summed up by the Argentinean senior delegate and FIFA vice-president, Julio Grondona.
In an embittered outburst aimed at the FA and its representatives Grondona said England ‘is always complaining’. ‘Please, I say, will you leave the Fifa family alone, and when you speak, speak with truth,’ said Grondona, referring to the UK media’s reporting on the bribery scandal engulfing world football’s governing body. Grondona and Angel Villar-Llona from Spain berated the FA and the British media, to the obvious surprise of the bitter English FA.
‘I was certainly surprised Grondona and Villa Llona went on, rambling about politicians and journalists.’ Alex Horne insisted the FA’s action had helped pressure [Fifa president Sepp] Blatter to announce reforms. Such international politicking, which is supposedly outlawed by Fifa’s zero-tolerance policy of government interference in national associations, could be seen to show the strength of anti-English feeling within world football.
Therefore, some commentators have said, it proves England have little chance of securing any future World Cups – given that any future votes on hosting duties will be undertaken by the entire Fifa congress instead of the 23-strong executive committee. In announcing the change in the voting process, Blatter suggested this would make the process more fair and open.
As the relationship deteriorates between Fifa and the FA, the ability to influence an organization built on persuasion seems to be slipping from the hands of FA chief David Berstein. Blatter’s refusal to attend the Lord Triesman parliamentary inquiry earlier this year to give evidence appeared to be a blatant snub of England’s attempts to battle corruption within world football.
London mayor Boris Johnson went even further, suggesting a breakaway from Fifa could result from the ongoing furor. ‘Unless Fifa is reformed there is a case for setting up a rival international authority, based in London,’ he said.
Chuck Blazer – the executive member whose report on corruption prompted the investigation and suspension of Fifa vice-president Jack Warner and Mohammed Bin Hammam – took a swipe at the FA, saying it was too slow to act in its attempts to initiate reform.
‘Unfortunately, with them, everything is too little too late,’ Blazer said.
‘If they wanted other candidates they should have done things before the deadline.
‘If they wanted to report malfeasance they shouldn’t have waited for a parliamentary hearing.’
Speaking to the delegates at the Congress today, Blatter said he would guide Fifa back to ‘calmer waters’ after a media storm of allegations swirled like a hurricane yesterday. ‘We all know that the Fifa ship is in moving waters, I could even say troubled waters,’ Blatter said. ‘But I think this ship must be brought back on the right route and I am the captain of this ship. ‘It’s therefore my duty and responsibility to see to it that we get back on the right route. But I can only do it with your help because Fifa is you.’