England 2018 World Cup bid chief labels Sepp Blatter 'laughable'

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The Independent Football

England 2018 World Cup bid chief Andy Anson has ridiculed FIFA's handling of this year's corruption scandal and labelled president Sepp Blatter's desire to enlist the help of opera star Placido Domingo as "laughable".

A difficult year for world football's governing body has seen Mohamed Bin Hammam banned and fellow FIFA member Jack Warner stand down in the wake of bribery allegations while controversy also raged over the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

The corruption scandal was particularly damaging and occurred around the time of the body's presidential elections, from which Bin Hammam withdrew after being charged with bribery and incumbent Blatter was voted in unopposed.

Anson, who saw England's World Cup bid fail last year, has called for reform at FIFA and highlighted Blatter's suggestion that Domingo could join a 'solutions committee' as an example of the body's poor handling of the situation.

He told Sky News: "For me, the worst thing that happened was, after the incidents in the summer with Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner, the whole issue about getting Placido Domingo on an ethics committee was laughable.

"As a response to what were incredibly serious allegations at the time, to come up with something that seemed so superficial actually cemented the view in people's minds that FIFA does not have the level of credibility or integrity it needs to run this game. And that's got to be addressed.

"It's a prolonged crisis and I think it's something that has been going on far too long. FIFA need to put an end to all the rumours because there's always been this issue about what's true and what's a rumour.

"FIFA know all about the rumours and it doesn't do them any good."

Anson also called for reform for FIFA's election procedures.

"The fact that we are having people just running for election time and time again, staying in office, creating their own personal fiefdoms within the world of FIFA, that's not healthy."

Anson added: "I don't have faith, because they have no record to date of actually taking this issue seriously enough.

"But you would hope that losing someone with the experience of Bin Hammam, with Jack Warner having to resign and move away from FIFA, that they will suddenly realise this is an incredibly serious issue.

"The whole world is watching and waiting in a way. There's a lot of people watching, a lot of people anticipating but I have to say I think most people anticipating are not waiting for great results because FIFA have not had a track record of taking this issue seriously in the past."