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David Bernstein urges World Cup boycott

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David Bernstein has urged the English Football Association to encourage a European boycott of the next World Cup.

In an interview with the BBC, the former FA chairman believes football’s world governing body must be reformed, following last week’s heavily criticised report from FIFA into the bidding process into the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

"If I was at the FA now, I would do everything I could to encourage other nations within Uefa - and there are some who would definitely be on side, others may be not - to take this line."

The report accused the FA of flouting bid rules and cleared Russia and Qatar from the claims of corruption that had overshadowed the awarding of the tournament.

However just four hours after being published Michael Garcia, the independent ethics investigator of the process criticised the report’s validity, raising more questions about the transparency of FIFA.

12 of the top 20 teams in the FIFA world rankings are European and a continental boycott would surely affect potential sponsors of the global event, sending a clear message to Sepp Blatter.

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European alliance

Bernstein singled out Germany, Spain, Italy, France and Holland as the most powerful nations in UEFA that could force a change at the top of the football pyramid.

"You can't hold a serious World Cup without them. They have the power to influence if they have the will.”

He added: "England on its own cannot influence this, if we tried something like that, we'd be laughed at."

Bernstein had been a member of FIFA’s anti-discrimination taskforce but has resigned and even compared the governing body to the Soviet union.

"Fifa is sort of a totalitarian set-up. Bits of it remind me of the old Soviet empire. People don't speak out and if they do they get quashed."

Qatar concerns

Whilst a boycott for 2018 is being considered, the decision to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar continues to raise controversy and Bernstein believes it was "one of the most ludicrous decisions in the history of sport".

He said: “Qatar is clearly a totally unsuitable place to hold a World Cup."

“There's also a background of political, social and employment issues that keep emerging and I think there's a danger that Fifa and football might be embarrassed by what emerges in the coming years,"

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Topics:
England Football
World Cup
Football

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