Sepp Blatter will meet the new Football Association chairman, David Bernstein, tomorrow, to try to secure England's vote for the Fifa presidency, but his visit has come at the worst time in terms of his efforts to clean up the game. Yesterday, fresh claims emerged over the controversial Fifa vice-president Jack Warner's alleged involvement in a World Cup ticket scandal.
The Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet says it has proof that Warner, whose support is key to Blatter's hopes of re-election, attempted to sell tickets on the black market, in direct contravention of Fifa rules. The paper, which has long been investigating Warner's activities, quoted a black-market ticket dealer as saying a deal was set up with Warner to provide tickets for South Africa. According to the paper, the Caribbean Football Union ordered tickets for several matches including the final. Dagbladet said it was in possession of the receipt for that order and claimed Warner's cut was 60 per cent, even though the deal broke down.
The revelations will heap pressure on Blatter as he bids for a fourth term of office. Warner was reprimanded by Fifa over a 2006 World Cup ticketing scandal involving his family but kept his place on the executive committee. These claims will renew calls for action against the controversial Trinidadian who is one of the most powerful men in the world game.
Blatter, who is taking on Asia's Mohamed bin Hammam in a fight for world football's top job on 1 June, will discuss his manifesto with Bernstein in a lunchtime meeting at Wembley.
Blatter's visit will give Bernstein a chance to speak to the 75-year-old about England's 2018 World Cup humiliation. Bernstein has made it an aim of his chairmanship to rebuild bridges with Fifa and distanced himself from reports that the FA are keen to back any Blatter opponent.
A number of influential figures in the English game favour Bin Hammam, who must convince Fifa's 208 nations that it is time to unseat Blatter after 13 years in charge, and to elect a ninth Fifa president.
Warner was recently returned for a sixth time as head of Concacaf and he will determine where the 37 votes of the region will go. The support of Warner and Michel Platini is seen as vital to both presidential candidates. Both have spoken recently of the need to rid the game's governing body of corruption.