John Delaney: ‘Nothing would surprise me with Fifa’

‘He’ll win the election if it takes place on Friday but we won’t be voting for him’

FAI chief executive John Delaney still believes that Sepp Blatter will win the Fifa presidential election this Friday, despite the arrests of senior officials at a hotel in Zurich on Wednesday morning on suspicion of receiving bribes.

“It seems like something out of a mafia movie,” he told Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio One.

It had been reported that Friday’s election may be postponed after the morning’s developments, but Fifa confirmed in a press conference that this will not be the case.

“He’ll win the election if it takes place on Friday but we won’t be voting for him,” explained Delaney.

"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 for Prince Ali to win he would need to gather 105 votes. 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 later today and attend the Uefa meeting in the morning.”

Among the seven officials arrested is current Fifa vice-president and executive committee member Jeffrey Webb.

“Nothing would surprise me with Fifa, that’s the sad thing about Fifa. Uefa is a tremendous organisation to work,” added Delaney.

“When you wake up this morning and hear those events, it’s shocking and very saddening.

“The awards of World Cups are always covert and then there are independent reports that we don’t get to see. We’re told we’d get redacted versions and we don’t get those.

“There is always controversy around Fifa and it’s governance and the one person who has always been at the head of that is Sepp Blatter and he has to take some responsibility for that and that’s why I said yesterday that we wouldn’t be voting for him.”

Delaney believes that Blatter should step down from his post as the allegations continue to mount and tarnish the reputation of the sport.

“There could be radical things done like saying we won’t participate in Fifa tournaments. That would be radical and there have been mutterings like that and we’ll see what tomorrow morning brings.

“Some of the bigger countries feel that Fifa isn’t being run correctly.

“He lives in a cocoon, he lives in the voting chambers and not in the real world. His view is that he’s the president of Fifa and he’s voted in by the members and all these allegations are nothing to do with him, there about other people.

“If he really cares for the game, he’ll step down as president.”

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