FA refuse to vote in FIFA election
The English Football Association's board has agreed to abstain from the vote for the FIFA presidency, chairman David Bernstein has revealed.
England's failure to win hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup and the subsequent allegations of corruption that have clouded last December's vote led the FA to conclude that neither incumbent Sepp Blatter or his challenger Mohamed Bin Hammam deserve its support.
A statement from Bernstein read: "There are a well-reported range of issues both recent and current which, in the view of The FA board, make it difficult to support either candidate.
"The FA values its relationships with its international football partners extremely highly. We are determined to play an active and influential role through our representation within both UEFA and FIFA. We will continue to work hard to bring about any changes we think would benefit all of international football."
Blatter has queried the decision and said the FA's special FIFA privileges meant they had a responsibility to play a leading role in world football.
He said in an interview at FIFA headquarters in Zurich: "It is a bit strange when the number one association in the world - which is the FA - have two candidates to choose from and they cannot make a decision which one they support. It's strange.''
FA chiefs had all but ruled out supporting Blatter before Thursday's meeting but last week's fresh allegations of World Cup bidding corruption involving Qatar have also brought into question Bin Hammam's credentials in the FA's eyes, meaning it willl abstain from the vote on June 1.
Bin Hammam's candidacy has been tarnished by claims in Parliament that two FIFA members were paid $1.5 million to vote for Qatar 2022. As president of the Asian confederation, he played a key role in securing the tournament for the country.