(WFI) English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke tells MPs that the FA will not bid for any more FIFA events until president Sepp Blatter quits or is ousted.
Speaking to the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) select committee on Tuesday, he spent more than one hour responding to questions about the corruption-hit bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups – England garnered just two votes – and FIFA investigator Michael Garcia’s corruption probe into the bids.
At last month’s UEFA Congress in Sao Paulo, Dyke was among the UEFA leaders, also including Dutch FA chief Michael van Praag, who called for Blatter to quit as FIFA president after he broke a 2011 promise to step down next year. Blatter now wants another term in office.
In his session with MPs, Dyke did nothing to endear himself to Blatter or make efforts to repair relations between the FA and FIFA, which broke down after England’s World Cup bid defeat in 2010.
He said the Sao Paulo FIFA Congress in June reminded him of something out of North Korea because it was all “hail to the leader [Blatter]”.
Dyke said he thought no one could stop the 78-year-old Swiss from winning a fifth term as FIFA president at elections in Zurich next May. “If he runs again he will win,” he said. “I think it is unlikely we [the FA] would vote for him.”
“We think there’s a limited amount of time people should sit on the FIFA executive,” Dyke said. “Hopefully a new president coming in would take a look at the whole structure.”
After pulling the plug on a FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup bid last month because it was felt England had little chance of winning, Dyke confirmed that the FA had decided not to bid for FIFA tournaments in future but to focus on bidding for UEFA tournaments.
However, Dyke ruled out any possibility of the English FA withdrawing from FIFA.
“I don’t think we should walk out of FIFA because within a week everyone has forgotten you. I don’t think that sort of gesture-politics would help. I think trying to reform through UEFA and from the inside is the better way forward,” he told MPs.
The FA chief also commented on the Qatar 2022 World Cup and Garcia’s probe into possible ethics breaches in the 2018 and 2022 bidding contest. Garcia’s report is due to be handed to FIFA’s ethics judge Joachim Eckert in September. The German will review the recommendations before ruling on any sanctions for the nine bidding nations or individuals involved in the bidding process.
On Qatar winning 2022 hosting rights, he said: “Very few people believe it was the right decision.”
Dyke said there was “no chance” the Qatar world Cup would be held in the extreme heat of the summer of 2022. FIFA’s task force led by secretary general Jerome Valcke and Asian football boss Sheikh Salman has been canvassing feedback among World Cup stakeholders about switching the tournament to the winter months, with an announcement expected next spring.
“I am certain it won’t happen in the summer,” Dyke said, adding “air-conditioned stadiums are one thing but fans moving around on the streets, in and out of stadiums – it will be too dangerous to have it there in the summer.”
Dyke said the FA will ask for Garcia’s report on World Cup bidding corruption to be made public. FIFA yesterday told INSIDER the dossier would not be publicly available.
The Sunday Times Insight Team, which published revelations last month alleging corrupt activities between former FIFA vice-president Mohamed Bin Hammam and Qatar 2022, were also interviewed by MPs.
Reporters Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake were questioned for over an hour.
Calvert said he was “not at all” satisfied that FIFA’s corruption-buster Garcia had seen the “vast majority” of evidence on World Cup bidding corruption that the newspaper has in its possession.
“We think this investigation is horribly flawed,” added Blake of the investigation by US lawyer Garcia.
The Sunday Times’ reporters promised more revelations on the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding contest in coming months.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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