Wednesday 11 June 2014 08:57, UK
FA chairman Greg Dyke has hit back at FIFA president Sepp Blatter, labelling his accusations of racism at the British media as “totally unacceptable”.
As UEFA delegates met with Blatter in Sao Paulo and warned him against running for a fifth term, Dyke took the opportunity to ask the FIFA head to rethink his attitude towards recent accusations of bribery and corruption within his governing body.
Blatter and FIFA have come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks following a sensational exposé in the Sunday Times newspaper that alleged corruption was at the heart of Qatar’s successful 2022 World Cup bid, although the organisers vehemently deny any wrongdoing.
Blatter condemned the reports on Monday, suggesting to the African and Asian football federations that they were motivated by “discrimination and racism” from the British media before all but announcing his intention to stand for re-election.
And Dyke told Sky Sports News on Tuesday that he said to Blatter: “I regard the comments you made yesterday about the allegations in the British media in which you described them as racist as totally unacceptable.
“I have read the articles in the Sunday Times in great detail. The allegations being made have nothing to do with racism, they are allegations about corruption within FIFA.
“These allegations need to be properly investigated and properly answered. We need to know from [FIFA investigator] Mr Garcia tomorrow if he was aware of the material in the Sunday Times before it was published and, if not, will he now extend his investigation to consider the allegations?
“Mr Blatter, many of us are deeply troubled by your reaction to these allegations. It’s time for FIFA to stop attacking the messenger and instead consider and understand the message.”
Blatter is expected to announce his candidacy for the 2015 election at the FIFA congress on Wednesday, but a number of Europe’s top football officials, including former Manchester United chief executive David Gill and current Dutch FA boss Michael van Praag, have told him he should stand down after his current term.
And Dyke said: “The FA’s position is that we accepted four years ago that he was going to step down at this stage and there is some surprise that he is going to stand again.
“What we, the FA, would certainly like is to see an election; competition and different candidates explaining how they would run FIFA in the future. I think the view is it’s time for change.
“The point that the Dutch were making this morning is that FIFA’s reputation – certainly in Britain and probably in most of northern Europe if not all of Europe – is of a suspect organisation where there has been an awful lot of corruption.
“And that can only be rebuilt if there is a new leadership.”