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Published: Thursday 28th May 2015 by Leo Stevens
David Gill will reject a place on FIFA’s executive committee if Sepp Blatter is re-elected president on Friday.
The Football Association vice-chairman told UEFA member associations in Zurich he will not take up the place if Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein loses the election in Zurich.
The meeting also agreed to throw its full weight behind Prince Ali, according to John Delaney, chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland.
Delaney said: “David Gill stood up and said he won’t take up his seat, that was the big thing. I think it was very brave and very honest of him and there was a good round of applause, people thought ‘that’s a man of honour’.
“From his own personal perspective he doesn’t want to serve under Blatter and you have to respect that position.
“There wasn’t a vote taken but Michel Platini will tell you UEFA is unified, whether all 53 transfer their votes over I don’t know, I think one or two will be lost along the way.”
Gill was voted in as a vice-president of FIFA in March.
The indication from UEFA that its members would unite behind Prince Ali has ruled out the possibility of a European boycott of the presidential vote.
Blatter’s position has come under increasing pressure following a wave of arrests of football officials – including two FIFA vice-presidents – in Zurich on Wednesday on bribery, fraud and money laundering charges following an FBI investigation.
The US Department of Justice indictment of 18 people said bribes totalling more than 150million US dollars (£98million) had been paid for television rights, sponsorship deals and World Cup votes. The crisis led European football’s governing body UEFA to call for Friday’s FIFA presidential election to be postponed and questioned whether its 53 voting associations should even attend the Congress.
In a separate development, the Swiss attorney general also opened criminal proceedings over the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, seized documents and electronic data from FIFA’s headquarters and will question 10 current FIFA executive committee members who voted on those tournaments.
Delaney said UEFA president Michel Platini had spoken privately with Blatter on Thursday morning and urged him to quit, but Blatter refused.
Prime Minister David Cameron has supported Culture Secretary John Whittingdale’s calls for Blatter to go, while FA chairman Greg Dyke also believes it is time the 79-year-old Swiss stood down.
During a regular Westminster briefing, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I associated the Prime Minister in full with what John Whittingdale was saying.
“The responsibility with regard to football administration is for football administrators but the FA – and we are squarely behind the FA – supports the candidacy of Prince Ali and we are four square behind that.”
Asked if the Prime Minister believed the next World Cup should be staged in England, the spokesman said: “I understand many England fans were disappointed that England’s bid hadn’t been successful. You know that the Prime Minister was one of them. He was out there trying to get a successful England bid at that time.
“But, the focus now is both the investigations and reform of FIFA.”
Dyke insisted the new corruption allegations would not lead to the 2018 World Cup being relocated to England, but said: ” This is about one thing: how do you rebuild the reputation of FIFA and turn it into an open, fair and honest organisation with Blatter still at the helm?
“There is no way of rebuilding trust in FIFA while Sepp Blatter is still there. Sepp Blatter has to go. He either has to go through a resignation, or he has to be outvoted or we have to find a third way.”
One of FIFA’s leading sponsors Visa has said it will reassess its deal with the world governing body unless reforms are implemented
Dyke added: “It will be interesting to see how many other sponsors come out and say things like that.
“I think the time has come where the damage this has done to FIFA is so great that it can’t be rebuilt while Blatter is there so UEFA has got to try to force him out.”
Russia 2018 organising committee head Alexey Sorokin insisted he was not concerned about the criminal investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and said there was no point in even discussing the idea of a re-vote for the tournaments – something FIFA has also ruled out.
Blatter’s enduring support among his powerbase in Africa and Asia was underlined by Guinea-Bissau FA president Manuel Nascimento Lopes who said it was “blasphemy” to blame Blatter for the conduct of others.
“I’m a Christian and this is blasphemy,” Nascimento Lopes told www.insideworldfootball.com.
“It’s a state conspiracy. People are always trying to knock Blatter. Africa will vote for Mr Blatter and I will follow that. I agree at some point there has to be change but let Blatter finish his mandate and see what he does.”
Published: Thursday 28th May 2015 by Leo Stevens