Wembley chairman slams world’s governing body.
The chairman of the Football Association David Bernstein has accused FIFA of failing to tackle corruption and cast doubt on Sepp Blatter’s willingness to reform.
The FA chief also insists he has no regrets about standing up at the FIFA Congress this summer to call for Blatter’s re-election as president to be postponed.
He stood unopposed after arch-rival Mohamed Bin Hammam was forced to pull out of the race amid bribery allegations against him.
The Qatari has since been deposed of his presidency of the Asian Football Confederation and banned from all aspects of football for life.
It was one of several corruption scandals to engulf FIFA in recent years and Blatter promised to reform the organisation.
An announcement about how he intends to do this due on October 21 following a meeting of the organisation’s executive committee.
But speaking at the Leaders in Football conference in London this morning, Bernstein is not optimistic.
“We had a UEFA strategic meeting two weeks ago in Cyprus and there was great disappointment expressed there about the lack of progress that FIFA are making in terms of governance,” he said.
“There is a FIFA ExCo this month and we are hoping something will come out of that but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
“It’s a difficult nut to crack, we will just have to see what Mr Blatter will do.”
Bernstein would not go as far as England 2018 World Cup bid chief Andy Anson, who ridiculed FIFA’s handling of recent scandals and labelled Blatter’s desire to enlist the help of opera star Placido Domingo as “laughable”.
Indeed, the FA chairman insists his organisation’s relationships with FIFA and UEFA had improved since the latter tried to prevent his intervention at the FIFA Congress.
“I wouldn’t say it was foolhardy,” he added. “There was a momentum of events and I felt I had to say something.
“The morning of that session, UEFA held an emergency meeting to discourage me from saying something.
“I said that within English football there are plenty of disagreements but everyone has the right of free speech. I would definitely do it again.”
Bernstein also revealed Argentina’s FIFA vice-president Julio Grondona had apologised for his “unacceptable” attack on England at the FIFA Congress.
Grondona, who is also president of his country’s national association, branded the English “liars” and “pirates” in June, but has now written a letter of apology.
“I was pleased to receive a letter of apology from the Argentinian (FA) president Grondona following his unacceptable comments about England in Zurich,” Bernstein said.
The Englishman promised the FA would get its own house in order after the recent Parliamentary Select Committee inquiry into Football Governance.
The Committee urged the Government to legislate if the game’s governing bodies failed to adopt new practices.
“If we can’t then there is a danger that they will legislate,” Bernsten said.
“Our job – and that’s why we’re working so closely with our friends at the Premier League and Football League – is to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
“The Select Committee report is not perfect. I think there are parts of it that leave something to be desired. But there is merit within there.
“We have to pick the best bits, work out a package that we can deliver together and come up with something so that the Government doesn’t have to get involved.”