Bin Hammam urges FA to re-consider abstention

DOHA - The English FA should reconsider their abstention from the FIFA presidential vote as they were forfeiting their right to affect change from within, candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam said on Tuesday.

The FA last week said they would abstain from the June 1 vote, which pits Asia confederation chief Bin Hammam against 13-year incumbent Sepp Blatter, days after former chairman David Triesman told a UK parliamentary inquiry the World Cup bid process was blighted by corruption.

Writing in a post on his personal website, Bin Hammam said he was surprised and disappointed by the FA's decision.

"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," he said.

"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.

"The FA, with its status as the oldest association in the world and England's position as the birthplace of the modern game, is one of the most important institutions in world football.

"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."

The FA's 2018 World Cup bid failed dismally, drawing only two votes, with bid officials complaining that the voting system was flawed and that FIFA Executive Committee members had lied to them. Russia won the hosting rights.

The parliamentary inquiry also heard that Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 tournament, backed by Bin Hammam, a Qatari, was also marred by allegations of wrongdoing.

FIFA, who suspended two executive committee members from voting on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups following earlier allegations that they had offered to sell their votes, has said it will investigate the allegations.

Qatar released a statement on Monday denying all the allegations against them.

Bin Hammam, who has been touring the world canvassing support to become FIFA's first Asian president, has previously said the governing body's reputation had been sullied by the allegations, but denied it was corrupt.

Pledges to make FIFA a more transparent, inclusive organisation have been the backbone of the 62-year-old's campaign and the Qatari reinforced the theme on his blog.

"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.

"Many within these groups feel as if they have been pushed to the margins but, should my candidacy prove successful, then that is a trend I will work hard to reverse."