FA calls for delay to Fifa vote as 'point of principle'

Bernstein sticks to guns but acknowledges Blatter re-election is virtually guaranteed

David Bernstein, chairman of the Football Association, last night described his body's decision to call for a postponement of today's Fifa presidential election as a "matter of principle", but acknowledged that it is almost certain not to bar Sepp Blatter from winning a fourth term in office.

The FA was joined by Scotland, which asked for a "three- to six-month postponement", and spent last night canvassing for one more association to enable them to ask Fifa's Congress to amend the agenda. Under Fifa regulations the proposing association needs the support of two others to force a vote.

The FA was in discussion with the other home nations, and there were suggestions some African countries may prove sympathetic to England's cause. But it remains an all but hopeless one. To delay the election needs the support of 75 per cent of the members – more than 150 of the 208 voters.

Bernstein said: "To get 150-odd votes clearly would be extremely difficult from a standing start. There was actually a matter of principle involved. We feel that the situation Fifa has got itself into is in many ways unacceptable. My board decided to abstain from the election when there were two candidates standing; now there is only one and given all the issues that have emerged since we did so, it would have been inconsistent to have supported a one-horse-race candidate.

"I don't think it is in the interests of anybody, nor in the interests of Mr Blatter. I would have thought if he's going to continue he should want to continue having won a proper election with opposition and then go forward with a full mandate. If he goes forward in this situation, with a coronation rather than an election, I don't think that does anybody any good."

Prince William, who is the FA's president, backed the call to postpone the election, a spokesperson saying he was "fully behind" the move.

The SFA followed England's lead, although there were no discussions

between the bodies. Stewart Regan, SFA chief executive, said: "Doing nothing is not a viable option. If we do nothing, we can see the election going ahead and Sepp Blatter being appointed for a period of four years."

The election is the 14th item on today's agenda; the agenda itself, the moment Bernstein will have to act, is the fourth. The congress begins at 9.30am with the election expected around 3pm. Chuck Blazer, the New Yorker who reported the allegations of corruption against Jack Warner and Mohamed Bin Hammam that sparked the crisis of the past week, dismissed the FA's move. Blazer said: "Unfortunately with them, everything is too little too late. The FA needs to learn to be ahead of the curve and not behind the game."

Bernstein, though, said: "It's the right thing to do. Sometimes you have to take a jump even if you aren't sure how solid the ground is beneath you."

Blazer himself was late last night reported to be facing a battle to hold on to his job as Concacaf general secretary. Lisle Austin, who is standing in for Warner as Concacaf president, attempted to "terminate" the American's role with the confederation.

The FA reached its decision to protest only on Monday night as a consequence of the events of recent days. These have seen the suspension of Bin Hammam and Warner, both vice-presidents; Jérôme Valcke, Fifa's general secretary, remains in his post having explained away a leaked email in which he wrote that Qatar had "bought" the 2022 World Cup; and Blatter's brazen dismissal of criticisms of the organisation at a press conference on Monday evening.

Last night Uefa was forced to distance itself from reports that it was pushing for Blatter to serve only two years rather than four before stepping aside, while Bin Hamman urged Asian members not to walk out in protest.

Bernstein denied his actions would leave the FA isolated in world football. He said: "On an issue of this import we have taken the lead and I don't think we are going to lose out over this. I don't think we are going to be isolated either and nor should we be. This is meant to be a democratic organisation – one's entitled to a minority view, even a singular view."

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Sport
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk