FA turns away from backing Blatter election


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The Football Association chairman David Bernstein as good as confirmed yesterday that his organisation would not be voting for the Fifa president Sepp Blatter in his bid to be re-elected next month.

Bernstein, speaking for the first time since his predecessor Lord Triesman's explosive evidence to a select committee in the House of Commons on Tuesday, acknowledged that there would be a major public backlash if the FA voted for Blatter on 1 June. "I don't think it would go down very well," he said. The FA chairman would not rule out the FA abstaining but refused to expand on his feelings on the subject ahead of an FA board meeting next Thursday. Neither Blatter nor his rival Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Qatari Asian football confederation president whose country are alleged to have paid bribes to secure the 2022 World Cup finals, have much credibility in English football.

Bernstein said he will announce the board's intentions after the meeting and before the official Fifa vote. He said: "I don't think abstention would be pointless. There are three choices and abstention could end up being a very credible choice. It depends what happens over the next week and my colleagues' view on those."

In the meantime the FA have announced an inquiry of their own into the allegations Triesman made that four members of the Fifa executive committee (ExCo) asked for bribes in return for supporting England's 2018 World Cup finals bid. They have given the QC James Dingemans a tight deadline – he will report by 27 May, at the same time as Fifa's own inquiry is expected to conclude.

Bernstein said: "We want to come up with the truth and verifiable facts. Lord Triesman has had a great career as chairman of the FA and is a man of honour.

"If Lord Triesman's allegations can't be supported they will die a death because unsupported allegations will not take anyone very far. Like any quasi-legal process you need evidence. If the allegations are to stick with Fifa and so on they need to be supported."

Asked whether he trusted Blatter and Hammam, Bernstein said: "I don't want to answer that question. He said that Dingemans would undertake the inquiry on his own. We'll give him the resources he needs."