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Five Aside
By ESPN Staff

Bernstein: FA took stand on principle

English Football Association chairman David Bernstein has admitted their attempt to have the FIFA presidential election called off is ddomed to failure but insisted a "coronation" of Sepp Blatter is unacceptable.

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Blatter officially opened FIFA's Congress on Tuesday and admitted in his speech that FIFA's stability was threatened by a "lurking danger".

As well as a postponement, Bernstein wants FIFA to appoint an independent body to supervise reforms after the scandals of the last month. The FA would need 75% of the 208 associations to back them tomorrow - and that looks a forlorn hope.

"To get 150-odd votes clearly would be extremely difficult when we starting from a standing start but there was actually a matter of principle involved," Bernstein said. "Myself and the FA feel that the situation FIFA has got itself into is in many ways unacceptable. Going forward in this situation if he does with a coronation rather than an election I don't think does anybody any good - including Mr Blatter."

There have been rumours that some European countries will try to persuade Blatter to say he will step down after two years rather than four, but Bernstein said he had no knowledge of that.

The FA's move has been publicly supported only by the Scottish FA, and there was criticism from USA's FIFA member Chuck Blazer, the man who blew the whistle on the bribery claims that have seen Jack Warner and Mohammed bin Hammam suspended as a result.

Blazer told Press Association Sport: "Unfortunately with them [the FA], everything is too little too late. If they wanted other candidates they should have done things before the deadline. If they wanted to report malfeasance they shouldn't have waited for a Parliamentary hearing. The FA needs to learn to be ahead of the curve and not behind the game."

Bernstein insisted that there was "latent support" for the FA's move and said he was not afraid of the organisation becoming isolated in world football.

"I am not judging this by mathematics, I think it is a good result already," he added. "We have had a tremendous response in the UK, this is certainly not aimed solely at the UK but it's important.

"I don't think we are going to be isolated either and nor should we be, this is meant to be a democratic organisation, one's entitled to a minority view, even a singular view. Whatever happens we are not withdrawing from FIFA and we will and we have to work from within the tent with the result of what all of this is.

"Sometimes in life you have to take a jump even if you aren't quite sure how solid the ground is beneath you."

"I thought we were living in a world of fair play and respect and discipline, and I unfortunately see this is no longer the case because the famous FIFA pyramid is suddenly unstable and there is a danger," said Blatter at a FIFA Congress that also saw Grace Jones perform her hits to the dignatries. .

"Tomorrow I will speak to you on this danger that is lurking, and tell you how we can fight and work against this threat."

Blazer also revealed that he has reported Warner to FIFA for allegedly violating his ban from all football-related activity.


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