Fifa pressed to postpone election

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The Football Association and Scottish FA have called on Fifa to postpone its presidential election as two more key sponsors raised their concerns over corruption allegations.

Sepp Blatter is due to stand unopposed for tomorrow's election but the FA has accused the world governing body of a "lack of transparency and accountability".

FA chairman David Bernstein said: "We call on Fifa and ask other national associations to support us with two initiatives.

"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."

It comes as major sponsors Emirates and Visa voiced their disappointment over the situation.

Earlier sponsors Coca Cola said the claims were "distressing and bad for the sport", while German sportswear giant Adidas also expressed concerns.

Boutros Boutros, Emirates' divisional senior vice president for corporate communications, said: "Emirates, like all football fans around the world, is disappointed with the issues that are currently surrounding the administration of this sport.

"We hope that these issues will be resolved as soon as possible and the outcome will be in the interest of the game and sport in general."

A spokeswoman for Visa said: "The current situation is clearly not good for the game and we ask that Fifa take all necessary steps to resolve the concerns that have been raised."

Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan said: "The Scottish FA can today confirm its position that the Fifa presidential election be postponed in light of recent uncertainty.

"We believe the election should be rescheduled to facilitate a period of consultation to deal with the issues that have arisen in recent weeks.

"The events of the last two days, in particular, have made any election unworkable.

"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."

Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam pulled out of the race against Mr Blatter at the weekend, hours before he was provisionally banned from all football-related activities on bribery charges.

Executive committee member Jack Warner has also been suspended from all football-related activity after the Fifa ethics committee said it would launch a "full inquiry" into the bribery allegations.

The developments came after controversy surrounding the legitimacy of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.

In a dramatic solo news conference yesterday, Mr Blatter admitted Fifa faces "difficulties" but insisted: "Crisis? What is a crisis? Football is not in a crisis."

Earlier, Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke had confirmed that he sent an email suggesting the 2022 World Cup was "bought" - but insisted he was referring to Qatar using their "financial strength" to legitimately lobby for votes.

Shadow culture, media and sport secretary Ivan Lewis said: "Mr Blatter's position is not tenable.

"Under his leadership Fifa has lost all credibility and he is unfit to have any role in the future of the organisation. Tomorrow's election has no legitimacy and should be cancelled."