English FA chief: The brand of Fifa is seriously damaged

The FA chairman told Sepp Blatter that his branding of the British media as racist was "totally unacceptable" and called for him to step down
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.

Following Dutch FA chief Michael van Praag’s decision to tell Blatter to his face that he must step down, the FA chairman took to the floor to deliver a stinging message to the Fifa president.

“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 Van Praag refused to rule out standing himself when asked by the world’s media following Tuesday’s meeting.

Dyke added to reporters after the Uefa meeting that he sees a change of direction at Fifa as being a necessary step in the improvement of governing body’s image across Europe in the very least.

“My view is that amongst the British public the brand of Fifa is seriously damaged, and I suspect that is the same in Europe. Whether it is in the rest of the world, I don’t know.”