Football

FA facing tough FIFA choice

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The Football Association's board will be urged on Thursday to abstain in next month's FIFA presidential election.

FA chiefs have all but ruled out supporting current incumbent Sepp Blatter and last week's fresh allegations of World Cup bidding corruption involving Qatar makes it increasingly likely that they abstain in the vote on June 1.

Blatter's opponent is Mohamed Bin Hammam, whose own candidacy has been tarnished by claims in Parliament last week that two FIFA members were paid 1.5million dollars to vote for Qatar 2022.

At least one board member is planning to encourage fellow directors to register a protest vote by not voting for either candidate, telling Press Association Sport: "The events of last week have not helped Bin Hammam, it would be very difficult to support Blatter so abstaining looks the most likely course."

David Bernstein, the FA chairman, has made it clear that abstaining is one of three choices to be put to the FA board, along with voting for Blatter, from Switzerland, or Bin Hammam.

Bernstein admitted last week "it wouldn't go down very well" with the public if the FA board decided to vote for the 75-year-old Blatter.


 

He said: "We will look at the recent events and take that on board. There are two candidates and three possible decisions, the other being that we will abstain."

One of the board members from the amateur game is Roger Burden, who withdrew his application to become FA chairman after the World Cup vote in December, saying he would have to work with FIFA and "I am not prepared to deal with people whom I cannot trust."

The Premier League members may argue in favour of Bin Hammam - they have developed close links with the head of the Asian confederation - but are unlikely to win a majority.

The FA board will also discuss their budget and strategy for international development, though a decision may be deferred until next month. The final decision will affect funding to three of Africa's poorest countries with high-profile relationships with Malawi, Lesotho and Botswana under threat.

The FA decided to review their international projects after the 2018 bid humiliation last year where England won just two FIFA votes - one of those from English vice-president Geoff Thompson.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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