ZURICH - FIFA voted to go ahead with its
presidential election on Wednesday after the world football
governing body's Congress rejected a proposal from the English
FA that it should be postponed.
Seventeen associations voted in favour of the proposal at
the annual Congress while 172 voted against, leaving incumbent
Sepp Blatter to be re-elected unopposed later on Wednesday.
FIFA said 206 associations had been eligible to vote.
England's proposal, raised in light of a damaging corruption
scandal that led to the suspension of two senior FIFA officials
following cash-for-votes allegations, had needed 75 percent of
the votes to be approved.
"We need a strong president, a strong FIFA to move forward,
otherwise the next few months will be open to all kinds of
allegations," said Cyprus FA president Costakis Koutsokoumnis,
one of several delegates to address Congress.
"We must not allow third parties, politicians, people
outside this room to enter FIFA's agenda. We must trust the
president to present us with a valid programme to fix whatever
we, the people of football, think is wrong with FIFA.
"To postpone elections at a time when a lot of work must be
put into FIFA, that would be extremely wrong."
The English FA said they believed their proposal had been
"While we did not succeed in deferring the FIFA presidential
election, it was positive to be joined by 16 other nations in
supporting our democratic request for the vote to be delayed,"
said chairman David Bernstein in a statement after the vote.
"A further 17 nations abstaining clearly shows that we are
not alone or isolated in our views in relation to the current
situation FIFA finds itself in.
"We believe it was very important that we were true to
ourselves by making clear our position through our statement on
Tuesday, and by carrying this forward openly to the FIFA
Congress earlier today.
"We are confident The FA has played a significant role as a
catalyst for change in the way World Cup hosts will be selected
in the future.
"This must be a more open transparent process."
British Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said the
government supported the FA's position, telling reporters:
"Our view is that we need to see greater accountability and
greater transparency in FIFA.
"That organisation needs to reform. We backed the FA in
abstaining from the vote and we agreed with the FA, we believe
that FIFA should have suspended the presidential election until
the investigations which are under way had been completed".
"The most important thing in all of this is that the public
have confidence in FIFA. In order for that to happen, certainly
in this country, we need FIFA to reform, " he said during a
regular briefing on govermment business.
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