Football Association Chairman David Bernstein has called on FIFA to postpone Wednesday’s presidential election.
Football’s governing body is set to go to the polls with incumbent Sepp Blatter the only man left on the ballot after challenger Mohamed Bin Hammam was suspended.
Bin Hammam and FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner, who has also been suspended, stand accused of bribing Caribbean Football Union officials with US$40,000 cash for their votes for the right to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The charges have incensed Warner, who in turn has alleged systemic bribery in FIFA, accused Blatter of willfully ignoring corruption in the body’s ranks and made public an email from secretary general Jerome Valcke saying Bin Hammam ‘bought’ Qatar the 2022 World Cup.
The FA announced two weeks earlier it would abstain from the presidential election, following testimony in a British parliamentary inquiry alleging vote-selling in the 2018 bid which England lost to Russia.
That decision now seems justified as FIFA descends into tit-for-tat accusations of bribery.
Bernstein has called on Blatter to postpone the election until the ethics committee has finished its investigations into Bin Hammam and Blatter.
In addition, the FA has asked for an independent review of FIFA with the aim of stamping out corruption, improving governance and restoring confidence in the much-maligned body.
A statement from Bernstein read: “There were two main reasons for (abstaining from voting). First, a concern, that a series of allegations relating to FIFA ExCo Members made it difficult to support either candidate.”
“Secondly, a concern about the lack of transparency and accountability within the organisation, contributing to the current unsatisfactory situation.”
“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 decision 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.”
“To improve confidence in the way the game is governed at the very top, we believe these requests would be a positive step forward and the minimum that should take place.”