FIFA crisis: Greg Dyke defends FA support for Michel Platini

Published: Friday 2nd October 2015 by The News Editor

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Greg Dyke says he will have no problem in explaining to MPs why the Football Association is still backing Michel Platini for the FIFA presidency – but accepts there are issues to be examined over a controversial payment to the UEFA president.

Dyke, the FA chairman, said he had confirmed some weeks ago to the culture, media and sport select committee that he will speak to them about FIFA. A hearing could take place towards the end of October.

UEFA president Platini is embroiled in controversy surrounding a £1.3million payment to him from FIFA in February 2011 for work he carried out for Sepp Blatter more than nine years previously.

Dyke accepted there were questions over the Platini payment which needed to be clarified and said he would be happy to answer any questions posed by MPs.

He told Press Association Sport: “We have agreed some time ago that we will go to the committee and talk about FIFA and I’m happy to go and explain where we are and why we are there – no problem.

“It was a decision by the whole board to support Mr Platini, however recent events have raised a number of issues which do need to be looked at.”

Committee member Damian Collins MP, the founder of the New FIFA Now campaign group, said Dyke needed to provide answers.

He told Sky Sports News: “Greg Dyke is the man who sits at the FIFA Congress, representing the Football Association, and who has relations with senior people at UEFA. Why is it that they have given Michel Platini their support? Is it unconditional? What would it take for that support to be withdrawn?

“I think many people want to know why the FA nailed their colours to the mast of backing Michel Platini before even the nominations for the presidential elections have closed.”

Dyke was speaking in Sheffield at the start of work on two football “hubs” as part of a pilot study in improving facilities which could see up to 150 projects across 30 cities. Money from the FA, the Premier League and the Government is going into the scheme, with the first one emerging at High Green in north Sheffield where two artificial turf pitches are being built next to a new leisure centre.

Dyke added: “This will be the first hub, these are the pilot projects and if they work this is the future.

“You can use these pitches the whole time, and if you go to Germany, France and Holland these pitches are everywhere. This is the beginning but in the long term if you improve grassroots facilities significantly across the country then you can improve football all the way up to the England team.

“We are already discussing with Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester about creating football hubs in those cities.”

Meanwhile, Asian Football Confederation president Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has distanced himself from standing for the FIFA presidency.

He said: “I have noted recent media speculation that my name has been suggested by others but, while I would like to thank them for their trust and confidence in my leadership, the thought of being a candidate in 2016 had not crossed my mind.

“My obligations today are primarily to Asia, and we have lots of work ahead to further strengthen and streamline our confederation.”

Published: Friday 2nd October 2015 by The News Editor

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