FA chief Dyke leads calls for Blatter to step down

The English representative spoke out against the Swiss at a Uefa meeting ahead of Tuesday's Fifa congress, with his feelings shared by Dutch counterpart Michael van Praag
By Kris Voakes in Sao Paulo

English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke believes Fifa's reputation is "seriously damaged" and will continue to worsen unless Sepp Blatter steps down as president.

Dyke told Blatter in a meeting in Sao Paulo that he will continue to harm the reputation of world football's governing body unless he resigns his post, and attacked him in person over his claims that British media coverage of allegations of corruption in the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar were "racist".

The English FA chief stood up to Blatter during a Uefa meeting ahead of Tuesday’s Fifa Congress at which the Swiss had announced he was “thinking about changing my mind” after his announcement in 2011 that he would not run for office again in 2015.

“I regard the comments you made yesterday about the allegations in the British media in which you described them as racist to be totally unacceptable,” Dyke told Blatter.

“I have read the articles in the Sunday Times in great detail. The allegations being made are nothing to do with racism. They are allegations about corruption within Fifa.

“These allegations need to be properly investigated and properly answered. We need to know from [US attorney Michael] Garcia tomorrow if he was aware of the material in the Sunday Times before it was published and, if not, whether he will now extend his investigation to consider these allegations.

“Mr Blatter, many of us are deeply troubled by your reaction to these allegations. It is time for Fifa to stop attacking the messenger and instead consider and understand the message.”

Blatter promised to address Dyke’s position on Wednesday at the second day of the Fifa Congress, but Uefa’s meeting uncovered a groundswell of support for Uefa chief Michel Platini to stand for election as Fifa president in 2015.

Platini has promised to make a decision regarding his candidacy in September, while Dutch FA chief Michael van Praag refused to rule out standing himself when asked by the world’s media following Tuesday’s meeting.

Van Praag also questioned whether Blatter was the right person for the role despite admitting that he got on with the 78-year-old.

"If you're somewhere sixteen years, you have to ask yourself if you are adding something," the KNVB chief told Dutch newspaper Volkskrant.

"The image of Fifa has deteriorated after everything that has happened in recent years. Few take it seriously. No matter how you look at it, Blatter is ultimately responsible.

"I like him personally, but it's part of the job that you're being criticised as Fifa president. If that's the case, you should take your responsibility.

"I expect that Uefa will make a statement today about his bid for another term. Maybe we won't even talk about it at the Uefa congress, because the elections are next year. But as European FA we have to be prepared."