Two countries call for FIFA election to be postponed
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The day before FIFA members were to vote in Wednesday’s presidential election -- a contest with only one candidate left standing -- two countries called for the elections to be postponed amid allegations of corruption and scandal.
Only incumbent Joseph “Sepp” Blatter remains on the ballot, as Asian Football Confederation President Mohammad bin Hammam withdrew from the election Sunday before being suspended from all soccer activity due to allegations of attempted bribery.
The English football association urged that more time be taken before the election to give “any alternative reforming candidate” time to challenge Blatter.
The Scottish FA joined the English in publicly doubting the election’s integrity.
“The events of the last two days, in particular, have made any election unworkable,” Scottish FA Chief Executive Stewart Regan said in a statement. “The integrity and reputation of the game across the world is paramount and the Scottish FA urges FIFA to reconsider its intentions, and calls on other member associations to consider the long-term implications for the game’s image.” Yet other member associations have not joined the English and Scottish football associations. In fact, suspended FIFA Vice President Jack Warner encouraged Caribbean football officials to do the exact opposite. Warner, suspended along with Bin Hammam, sent a letter to members of the Caribbean Football Union on Tuesday, describing his clashes with Blatter as personal.
“At our last meeting we agreed as a Union to support the incumbent Joseph Sepp Blatter in his quest to regain the Presidency,’ Warner wrote. “I wish to assure you nothing has changed -- our mandate was set then and despite it all we must fulfill it.”
Warner asked “his brothers and sisters from the Caribbean Football Union to desist from initiating any protest action at tomorrow’s FIFA Congress.”
Major sponsors also expressed worries over the FIFA scandal, which not only sheds doubt on this presidential election but also on the selection of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.
“The current situation is clearly not good for the game and we ask that FIFA take all necessary steps to resolve the concerns that have been raised,” Visa said in a statement, joining fellow World Cup sponsors Coca-Cola and Adidas in voicing displeasure.
-- Douglas Farmer