Fifa faces World Cup boycott call

2014-11-18 07:22

Football world governing body Fifa has remained under pressure following criticism of the report into allegations of corruption in the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Former England Football Association chairperson David Bernstein said yesterday the FA should get behind the German push to force reforms from world ruling body Fifa and join its European counterpart Uefa in a boycott of the next World Cup if there is no change.

“At some stage you have to walk the talk, stop talking and do something,” Bernstein told the BBC.

Two whistle-blowers have meanwhile formally complained about Fifa judge Hans-Joachim Eckert’s treatment of them in his World Cup bid corruption report.

The Fifa controversy is likely to feature in talks in two weeks in Frankfurt involving several members of European football union Uefa, including the German Football Federation. However a DFB spokesperson denied a German report that the talks were a “crisis summit”.

Fifa came under new pressure for reforms last week after it declined to publish in full a report by United States lawyer Michael Garcia into allegations of corruption in the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, to be held in Russia and Qatar, respectively.

Garcia criticised the summary of his report presented by ethics committee judge Eckert and has told Fifa he would be appealing.

Bernstein said: “I think England within Uefa undoubtedly have the power to influence Fifa but to do so they would have to consider withdrawing from the World Cup, the next World Cup, unless proper reform – including Mr [Sepp] Blatter not standing [for a fifth term] – is carried out at Fifa.

Bernstein, whose three-year term at the head of the FA ended last year, said a European boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia could be sufficient pressure for radical change.

“There are 54 countries within Uefa. There’s Germany, Spain, Italy, France and Holland – all powerful – [and] you can’t hold a serious World Cup without them. They have the power to influence if they have the will.”

Bernstein condemned the “totalitarian set-up” within Fifa, adding “bits of it remind me of the old Soviet empire. People don’t speak out and if they do they get quashed.”

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