Discontent with FIFA President Sepp Blatter reached new heights on Tuesday, two days before the World Cup begins in Brazil.
During a closed-door meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with UEFA — European soccer’s governing body, representing 54 national teams — Blatter was urged not to seek re-election in 2015 in the wake of scandals over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, a process that has been marred by allegations of bribery.
UEFA executive committee member Michael van Praag and English Football Association President Greg Dyke directly challenged Blatter not to stand again during a closed-door meeting of Europe’s 54 football nations — described by one delegate as “a grilling.”
“People link FIFA to corruption and bribery and all kinds of old boys’ networks,” Van Praag told reporters later.
“FIFA has an executive president and that means you are responsible,” the Netherlands federation president said he told Blatter. “People tend not to take you very seriously anymore.”
Dyke also took offense to Blatter’s assertion on Monday that racism in the British media was behind the opposition to Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid.
“I said to him, ‘I regard the comments you made about the allegations in the British media in which you described them as racist as totally unacceptable,’ ” Dyke told reporters, per the AP.
Blatter, a 78-year-old Swiss, has the support of delegates from FIFA’s five other jurisdictions, who have pledged to back his re-election effort even though, in 2011, he promised to retire after his current term as FIFA president was up, a fact he was reminded of by UEFA’s delegates on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Blatter is expected to rally support for his re-election during a public meeting of the FIFA Congress in Brazil.
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