Huge FIFA Scandal Brewing

by Greg Pollowitz

I’d be outraged by this if I ever watched soccer, but since it is sports news, I figure I better link to it. AP:

The turmoil surrounding FIFA escalated Tuesday with calls for the presidential election to be postponed and leading global sponsors expressing concern that the corruption scandal is damaging the image of the game.

With incumbent Sepp Blatter the only candidate for president, the English and Scottish Football Associations said Wednesday’s election lacked the credibility FIFA needed to counter the flood of allegations rocking the sport’s global body.

Blatter’s only challenger, Mohamed bin Hammam, withdrew Sunday amid bribery allegations.

The English FA called for more time to allow “any alternative reforming candidate” to come forward to challenge Blatter, who has been president for 13 years and is seeking a final four-year term.

On the eve of the election, Blatter also had to deal with two more leading sponsors criticizing FIFA’s inability to deal with pervasive corruption claims, and with his second-in-command under fire for saying Qatar had “bought” the 2022 World Cup.

England’s intervention took European soccer body UEFA by surprise, with president Michel Platini saying the FA did not bring it up at a meeting Monday.

“They did not ask” for support to postpone the election, Platini said. UEFA is expected to largely back Blatter in Wednesday’s election.

Any postponement of Wednesday’s election would need the backing of three-quarters of the 208 federations attending the Congress, which was scheduled to be opened by Blatter late Tuesday.

The English FA had already said it was abstaining before the allegations emerged that led to suspensions for bin Hammam and fellow FIFA executive committee member Jack Warner.

The two were suspended by an ethics committee pending a full probe into allegations that Caribbean soccer leaders were paid $40,000 each to back bin Hammam’s presidential bid.

“The events of the last two days, in particular, have made any election unworkable,” Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan said in a statement. “The integrity and reputation of the game across the world is paramount and the Scottish FA urges FIFA to reconsider its intentions, and calls on other member associations to consider the long-term implications for the game’s image.”

The rest here.

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