FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam has urged the English Football Association to reconsider its decision to abstain from the election, saying that it is ”forfeiting” its right to improve the sport by choosing not to take part.
Bin Hammam, who is the lone challenger to FIFA President Sepp Blatter in the June 1 election, wrote on his website Tuesday that he respects the FA’s position but is disappointed that a national association has decided ”not to try to affect change from the inside.”
”The FA, with its status as the oldest association in the world and England’s position as the birthplace of the modern game, is one of the most important institutions in world football,” he wrote. ”As a result, they should be working with FIFA and the rest of the global game to improve and enhance football. By choosing to abstain, the FA is, sadly, forfeiting that right.”
The FA announced last week that it wouldn’t vote for Blatter or bin Hammam. Both men have been tainted by a corruption scandal involving bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Six members of FIFA’s executive committee have been accused of receiving or demanded bribes during bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Bin Hammam helped deliver the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, which is alleged to have paid two FIFA executives $1.5 million each.
The allegations came from evidence the Sunday Times submitted to a British parliamentary inquiry. Blatter has announced FIFA will investigate the claims and that a former bid employee who was a source for some of the allegations would be interviewed Wednesday.
The Qatar Football Association on Monday welcomed an investigation into allegations of corruption but insisted that the evidence presented so far was false and unsubstantiated. It said the whistleblower is probably a former employee ”with a significant axe to grind.”
In its one-page letter released to the media, Qatar offered no fresh evidence to refute the claims, but attempted to cast doubt on the Sunday Times allegations, suggesting the methods it used to build the case calls into question the ”credibility of the reporters, their motivations and extent to which … the evidence in any way can be relied upon.”
Meanwhile, Blatter has declined an invitation to testify about World Cup bidding before a British Parliamentary committee. FIFA informed the Culture, Media and Sport Committee that it is focusing on its own investigation.