'2018 SWC boycott possible' - England FA boss

Greg Dyke (AFP)
Greg Dyke (AFP)

London - English FA chairperson Greg Dyke said England would support a possible boycott of the 2018 World Cup if Sepp Blatter was re-elected president of FIFA.

However, his Dutch counterpart Michael van Praag said his federation had never discussed a boycott.

Dyke, speaking to BBC radio before Friday's presidential vote in Zurich, said England would not go it alone but would consider joining a wider European boycott.

"If the whole of UEFA said that, and all of the countries were willing to do it I think that is right," Dyke said.

"There is no point in one or two countries saying we are not going to take part because they will carry on with the tournament without them and that is then pretty unfair on the fans.

"But if UEFA as a group said 'look unless we get this sorted we are not going to be in the World Cup' then I think we would join them."

Dyke's comments followed a similarly veiled threat from UEFA president Michel Platini after the Frenchman revealed that he personally asked Blatter to stand down for the good of football.

Europe has overwhelmingly spoken out in favour of change and while Platini stopped short of saying a World Cup boycott was inevitable, he did say "all options were open" if Blatter retained power.

But Blatter has refused to withdraw from the ballot, saying he would stand for a fifth term and pledging to introduce reforms in the wake of the latest corruption allegations that have engulfed FIFA.

"The events of this week are significant," Dyke said.

"Blatter's statement on Thursday in which he basically said 'look, leave it to me I will clean this up', nobody is going to believe that.

"And I think that it is quite ominous for him when the attorney general in America says this is only the beginning not the end."

Blatter is strongly favoured to win Friday's vote against Jordanian Prince Ali bin Al Hussein but Dyke said change was now inevitable regardless of the outcome.

"I think the odds are still on him (Blatter) winning but they are nowhere near where they were. There has certainly been a shift during this week," Dyke said.

"I think it is all over for Blatter anyway, I don't think it matters if he wins or not.

"I hope he doesn't win but if he does I think the events of this week have turned him into a diminished figure and I can't see him lasting more than a year or two."

Van Praag, who pulled out of the presidential race last week and put his support behind Prince Ali, played down the possibility of a boycott as he arrived at the FIFA Congress in Zurich.

"We never talked about pulling out of the World Cup, and we are part of UEFA and we agreed yesterday (Thursday) that if Sepp Blatter wins, we have a new situation," he told reporters.

"We happen to come together in Berlin for the Champions League final (June 6) so that is good opportunity to sit and look at the new situation, it's absolutely no use speculating on that.

"We can do a lot (without boycotting the World Cup)."

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