English and Dutch FAs turn on Sepp Blatter at heated meeting
Calls made for Fifa boss not to stand for election again
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has been challenged by both the English and Dutch football associations. Photograph: Photograph: Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images
England’s football chiefs rounded on Fifa president Sepp Blatter on Tuesday and told him that his claim that racism was behind corruption allegations was “totally unacceptable”.
FA chairman Greg Dyke responded forcefully to Blatter at a meeting of Uefa federations in Sao Paulo after the Fifa president had addressed the room.
Meanwhile, England’s Uefa vice-president David Gill called for Blatter not to stand for election for a fifth term next year.
Dyke said after the meeting: “I said to him, ‘I regard the comments you made yesterday about allegations in the British media in which you described them as racist as totally unacceptable.
“The allegations being made are nothing to do with the racism, they are allegations about corruption.”
Gill labelled Blatter’s decision to commit a U-turn on his 2011 pledge to stand down in 2015 as “disappointing”.
Gill, the former Manchester United chief executive, said: “The very fact in 2011 he was clear it was just for four years, that should have been the situation. To change his mind is disappointing.”
Asked if he thought Blatter should step down next year, he added: “Personally yes, I think we need to move on. I think we need a full, frank and open debate about what Fifa needs going forward.”
Gill also echoed Dyke in that Blatter’s comments about racism being behind the Qatar 2022 World Cup corruption allegations were “unacceptable”.
African officials were among those alleged to have taken payments from Qatar’s former Fifa member Mohamed Bin Hammam, according to the Sunday Times.
“The statement made by Mr Blatter yesterday was from our point of view totally incorrect,” said Gill.
“This was about the issue being raised quite rightly in the British media which should be addressed by the world governing body and to try and portray it as racist or a discriminatory attack is totally unacceptable.”
Michael von Praag, the president of the Dutch FA , also openly challenged Blatter at the meeting.
“Mr Blatter, this is nothing personal but if you look at Fifa’s reputation over the last seven or eight years, it is being linked to all kinds of corruption and all kinds of old boys’ networks things,” Von Praag said he had told Blatter in the meeting from which reporters were barred.
“Fifa has an executive president and you are not making things easy for yourself and I do not think you are the man for the job any longer.
“I told him ‘I like you very much ... this is nothing personal. But you are now saying that Qatar was the wrong choice (for the 2022 World Cup), but you are not blaming yourself you are blaming your executive committee.
“Yesterday you said something about racism against Qatar and people are not taking you seriously any more. This is not good for Fifa and it is not good for the game.
“Yes you are leading the reforms at the moment, but all these problems occurred in the period before the reforms and you were still president and you responsible and I believe you should not run any more.”
Uefa took no resolution against Blatter, but the mood of the meeting had been “tense” according to a Uefa spokesman who said Blatter received only polite applause at the end.
After the meeting former Uefa president Lennart Johansson, who lost a Fifa presidential election to Blatter in 1998 told reporters: “It is time he went. He has done some good things for football and Fifa but 16 years is enough.”