'We made an important point of principle' - FA chairman David Bernstein feels attempt to delay Fifa election was correct

FA chief believes Fifa delegates are afraid to lift their head "above the parapet" and claims there was more support for the attempt to delay vote than the ballot showed
Football Association chairman David Bernstein has revealed that he felt the decision to attempt to delay the Fifa presidential elections was the right one, despite the proposal being overwhelmingly dismissed by committee members.

The FA and Scottish Football Association made their attempt to delay proceedings after Sepp Blatter emerged as the only candidate for the position following the withdrawal of Mohamed Bin Hammam but came under heavy criticism for their actions, although Bernstein feels they were justified.

"I think it was worth it; we made an important point of principle," Bernstein told BBC Sport.

"We felt a coronation wasn't appropriate given what's happening at Fifa."

He also felt that there had been real progress towards reform at Fifa following Sepp Blatter’s promises for "solutions".

"I think there's been some movement in terms of greater democracy, in terms of congress being involved in things such as World Cup country selection rather than the Executive Committee, so I think there's been some movement and we're partly responsible for that," he added.

Bernstein also revealed that despite the widespread criticism of the FA’s attempts to delay the election, there was more support for the idea than publicly admitted, with committee members afraid to voice their opinions.

"When you talk to people informally there's a great deal of support," he said.

"The problem at Fifa is that people are scared to put their heads above the parapet. There's quite a groundswell of support but you have to talk to people privately to understand that."

England 2018 World Cup bid ambassador Sir Bobby Charlton voiced his opinion on the subject too, expressing a degree of caution over Sepp Blatter’s claims for reform.

"Blatter has promised there will be lots and lots of efforts put into putting right what they have always been criticised for so I can only hope that he does," he added.

"Fifa's reputation has been damaged but they seemed fairly happy in the end.

"In hindsight, I don't think much would have changed and it has slightly damaged our reputation."

The FA’s decision to delay the election was also supported by Sports Minister Hugh Robertson.

"I think there are people who are saying the FA have taken a very bold lead and I suspect there are a lot of football associations round the world who are not terribly pleased with them for doing that," he said.

"I absolutely support what the FA have done. I think it is entirely the right action. It is harsh to criticise them for not doing that earlier.

"The pace of events was such that they could only make the intervention they did at the time that they did. Actually, they deserve our support today."

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