FAI chief John Delaney suggests radical action following arrests

Delaney hints at possible boycott of tournaments if Sepp Blatter doesn’t step down

FAI chief John Delaney: “There is always controversy around Fifa and its decision and its governance and the one person who has always been at the head of that for a long time is Sepp Blatter.” Photograph: Arthur Carron/Collins

FAI chief John Delaney: “There is always controversy around Fifa and its decision and its governance and the one person who has always been at the head of that for a long time is Sepp Blatter.” Photograph: Arthur Carron/Collins

 

FAI chief executive John Delaney has described yesterday morning’s events in Zurich as “shocking,” and hinted at the possibility of a boycott of forthcoming Fifa tournaments if the organisation’s president, Sepp Blatter, does not relent and abandon his bid for a fifth four-year term.

“It’s pretty shocking if you wake up this morning and you read that six Fifa officials have been arrested in their hotel rooms. If it wasn’t so serious it seems like something out of a mafia movie,” said Delaney in an RTÉ radio interview.

“Nothing would surprise me with Fifa now, that’s the sad situation. I’ve often said that Uefa is a tremendous organisation to work with, the European body, but the world body is really, really, you know . . . oh, as I said, nothing would surprise me.”

The 47-year-old acknowledged that the federation is not helped by questions left unanswered in the wake of various bidding processes for World Cups. “There’s always speculation,” he said. “There are always accusations of bribery, corruption.

Second Captains

‘Always covert’

Still, he was clear that responsibility for the difficulties ultimately lies at the door of Blatter, the veteran Swiss administrator who first won the presidency, also in controversial circumstances, back in 1998.

“There is always controversy around Fifa and its decision and its governance and the one person who has always been at the head of that for a long time is Sepp Blatter. He has to take some responsibility at this stage and that’s why I said yesterday that we wouldn’t be voting for him. We’ll be voting for Prince Ali, from Jordan, and I think it’s time for Sepp Blatter to step down now and let someone else take over the running of Fifa to improve its image and governance.

“He (Blatter) will win the election if it takes place on Friday but we won’t be voting for him, and I don’t think we should. We’ve a meeting of the Uefa federation tomorrow, the 53-54 associations in Europe, we’ll meet to determine our strategy . . . hopefully people will take the view that it is time for change.

“There are 208 or 209 votes, Uefa have 53, but for Prince Ali to win he would need to garner 105 votes or something like that. Up until this morning, there wasn’t really a chance – the events this morning may change that but I’ll only know that when I get to Zurich and attend the Uefa meeting in the morning.”

There, he suggested, the frustration felt by the various associations could lead to dramatic action, he suggested. “There could be radical things done like saying we won’t participate in Fifa tournaments.”

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