Bin Hammam Baffled by FA Abstention

May 25, 2011

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president and FIFA presidential challenger to current incumbent Sepp Blatter, Mohamed Bin Hammam says he is disappointed the English FA has decided to abstain in next week’s FIFA presidential election.

The Qatari called for FA chiefs to “reconsider their position and make moves to engage fully with the global football family”.

In his latest blog Bin Hammam wrote: “The football family is vast and diverse – perhaps more so than any of us can truly comprehend – and that is one of our sport’s greatest strengths.

“So it is always disappointing when someone opts not to engage with the rest, when one of our national associations takes the decision not to try to affect change from the inside. 

“It was with some surprise that I learned that the Football Association has taken the decision not to back either candidate in the upcoming election. Of course, that is the FA’s prerogative and it is a position I respect, even if I don’t agree with it.”

Last week, the FA board agreed to abstain in the June 1 vote for the FIFA presidency, citing a “range of issues both recent and current which make it difficult to support either candidate”.

The decision followed on from England’s 2018 World Cup bid failure and former FA chief and England 2018 bid chairman David Triesman’s bribery claims against four FIFA Ex-Co members at a parliamentary football inquiry two weeks ago.

A Sunday Times submission to the inquiry also alleged that Qatar 2022 rigged the voting process by paying FIFA Ex-Co members Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma $1.5 million in bribes. 

Bin Hammam claimed to be baffled by the FA’s decision to abstain, saying that as the oldest football association it was “one of the most important institutions in world football”.

He added: “As a result, they should be working with FIFA and the rest of the global game to improve and enhance football. By choosing to abstain, the FA is, sadly, forfeiting that right.

“I realise they have their reasons for making their decision but I hope in the days leading up to the election that they will reconsider their position and make moves to engage fully with the global football family, both on June 1 and beyond.”

With eight days until the FIFA presidential election, Bin Hammam said that in his campaigning he had heard “from my friends and colleagues around the world how they would like to see FIFA grow”.

“There is a strong sense that a new approach is required to tackle the issues that will surely arise in coming times,” he wrote.

“There is a growing appreciation, too, that FIFA needs to be more inclusive; we have to set our sights on working not only with the various associations and confederations but with all those who have the love of our great game at heart.”