Calls grow for FIFA election postponement

Calls grow for FIFA election postponement

Published May. 31, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

The English and Scottish Football Associations called on FIFA to postpone Wednesday's presidential election in the wake of the bribery scandal that led to Sepp Blatter's only challenger withdrawing.

The English association urged a delay Tuesday so a new ''reforming candidate'' might be found and an independent body appointed to supervise reforms of FIFA in the wake of the organization's biggest crisis in its 107-year history.

The English FA had already said it was abstaining before the allegations emerged that led to presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam and fellow FIFA executive committee member Jack Warner being suspended.

''We call on FIFA and ask other national associations to support us with two initiatives,'' FA chairman David Bernstein said in a statement. ''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.''

Later, Scotland joined in the call for an election postponement.

''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.''

Regan proposed that FIFA appoint a ''wholly independent'' ethics committee and formulate a plan for making ''essential changes'' to the organization.

England and Scotland would need to find support from 75 percent of the 208 members of the congress to bring about a postponement of the election.

English football's governing body had faced criticism for its decision to abstain in the election, but Bernstein feels vindicated given the latest crisis.

Caribbean football leaders are alleged to have been paid $40,000 each to back bin Hammam's now-abandoned presidential bid during a visit to Warner's native Trinidad.

''There were two main reasons for this decision (to abstain),'' Bernstein said. ''First, a concern, that a series of allegations relating to FIFA ExCo (executive committee) members made it difficult to support either candidate.

''Secondly, a concern about the lack of transparency and accountability within the organization, contributing to the current unsatisfactory situation. Events of the last few days have reinforced our views.''