Greg Dyke: Fifa can’t afford repeat of cult of Sepp

Fifa cannot be allowed to regenerate into another Sepp Blatter-style cult, Football Association chairman Greg Dyke warned ahead of today’s presidential vote.
Greg Dyke: Fifa can’t afford repeat of cult of Sepp

Five candidates are running to succeed Blatter, who was voted in on five occasions, including last May, and made their final pitches to delegates at confederation meetings in Zurich yesterday.

Blatter stepped aside days later amid allegations which led to a six-year ban which he is contesting, prompting the world governing body’s extraordinary congress in the most pivotal period of Fifa’s near-112 year history.

Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter

Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al Hussein, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa of Bahrain, Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino, South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale and Jerome Champagne, a former Fifa deputy secretary general from France are vying for 207 votes from Fifa’s member associations (Kuwait and Indonesia are suspended).

The Football Association of Ireland is supporting Infantino while the FA has also declared its support for Infantino.

All five candidates expressed confidence of securing victory, but Asian Football Confederation boss Sheikh Salman is the favourite to become Fifa’s first new president since 1998.

Dyke compared his first Fifa congress in 2014 to North Korea’s despotic regime and hopes that is behind the world governing body.

“What I meant about North Korea was the cult of Blatter,” said Dyke, who has declared the FA will support Infantino.

“That’s what made it like North Korea, where one (delegate) after the other stood up and said what a wonderful man he was. That was pretty depressing.

“Dare I make the prediction that if Mr Blatter was standing this time, he might well win. That’s because a lot of people in football don’t get it.

“The cult of Blatter is no more. What we’ve got to make sure is the cult of someone else doesn’t replace him. We don’t want cults any more. We want a properly-run organisation.

“What I think will change is you will no longer have an all-powerful president able to dish largesse around the world in exchange for votes.”

Fifa has urged its members to adopt wide-scale reforms ahead of today’s vote. The reforms separate political power from management positions and require 75% of votes in favour to be approved.

The reforms are to be voted on as a package ahead of the presidential vote, but disputed elements can be extracted and discussed separately.

Greg Dyke
Greg Dyke

Dyke believes their adoption in full is more important than the choice of president. He said: “Presidents come and go. We’re behind the reform programme. And if that didn’t go through tomorrow, that’s a bigger crisis.”

The reforms see the 24-seat executive committee disbanded and replaced by a 36-seat council, with the president’s influence reduced and an appointed secretary general, approved by council, charged with delivering the day to day operations. Dyke added: “If you get a really good, effective chief executive, yes, it’ll change.”

Dyke played down Sheikh Salman’s love of English football and claim he would take the World Cup tournament back to England.

“When Mr Blatter won he said he wanted the World Cup to come back to England as well. That’s not the issue,” Dyke said. “I don’t particularly want a president who loves England, doesn’t love England. I want them to be fair. I want them to run the organisation properly.”

Sheikh Salman earlier on Thursday spoke of the need for change at Fifa — only to promise the member associations their well-remunerated presence on committees would not be reduced.

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