(WFI) Asian Football Confederation boss Mohamed Bin Hammam says he is disappointed the English FA has decided to abstain in next week’s FIFA presidential election and called for FA chiefs to “reconsider their position and make moves to engage fully with the global football family”.
“The football family is vast and diverse – perhaps more so than any of us can truly comprehend – and that is one of our sport’s greatest strengths,” he wrote today in his latest blog post on www.mohamedbinhammam.com.
“So it is always disappointing when someone opts not to engage with the rest, when one of our national associations takes the decision not to try to affect change from the inside.
“It was with some surprise that I learned that the Football Association has taken the decision not to back either candidate in the upcoming election. Of course, that is the FA’s prerogative and it is a position I respect, even if I don’t agree with it.”
Last week, the FA board agreed to abstain in the June 1 vote for the FIFA presidency, citing a “range of issues both recent and current which make it difficult to support either candidate”.
The decision followed FIFA’s snub of the England World Cup bid and bid officials’ condemnation of the bidding process presided over by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is seeking a fourth term in office. England picked up only two votes in the Dec. 2 vote, with Russia winning 2018 hosting rights.
Former FA chief and England 2018 bid chairman David Triesman also made bribery claims against four FIFA Ex-Co members at a parliamentary football inquiry two weeks ago. A Sunday Times submission to the inquiry also alleged that Qatar 2022 rigged the voting process by paying FIFA Ex-Co members Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma $1.5 million in bribes.
Both men deny and Qatar World Cup organisers deny the claims, which are being investigated by FIFA.
Bin Hammam, the 62-year-old Qatari challenging Blatter for the top job in world football, claimed to be baffled by the FA’s decision to abstain, saying that as the oldest football association it was “one of the most important institutions in world football”.
“As a result, they should be working with FIFA and the rest of the global game to improve and enhance football. By choosing to abstain, the FA is, sadly, forfeiting that right,” he added, in only his second blog post in the last nine days of campaigning.
“I realise they have their reasons for making their decision but I hope in the days leading up to the election that they will reconsider their position and make moves to engage fully with the global football family, both on June 1 and beyond.”
With eight days until the FIFA presidential election, Bin Hammam said that in his campaigning he had heard “from my friends and colleagues around the world how they would like to see FIFA grow”.
“There is a strong sense that a new approach is required to tackle the issues that will surely arise in coming times,” he wrote.
“There is a growing appreciation, too, that FIFA needs to be more inclusive; we have to set our sights on working not only with the various associations and confederations but with all those who have the love of our great game at heart.”
Bin Hammam insisted FIFA should be engaging more with all of the stakeholders in the sport from professionals and amateurs, clubs, leagues and national teams, players, coaches and fans as well as our commercial partners.
“Many within these groups feel as if they have been pushed to the margins but, should my candidacy prove successful, then that is a trend I will work hard to reverse,” he added.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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