FIFA president Sepp Blatter is under fire from several high-ranking football association officials following the organisation's controversial decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
The nation's acquisition of football's global spectacle has been clouded in controversy after The Sunday Times reported (h/t James Montague of CNN.com) that it had obtained a plethora of documents suggesting that Qatar's bid was fueled by corruption.
BBC sports news correspondent Richard Conway reports that The Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has been critical of the longtime FIFA president:
Told that FA chairman Greg Dyke directly questioned Sepp Blatter on accusations Qatar 2022 claims are racially motivated.— Richard Conway (@richard_conway) June 10, 2014
The Guardian's Owen Gibson also reports that Michael van Praag, president of the Royal Dutch Football Association, has made a bold request to Blatter:
Dutch FA chief Michael van Praag also called on Blatter to stand down.— Owen Gibson (@owen_g) June 10, 2014
Elko Born passed along some of van Praag's comments toward Blatter:
Michael van Praag (president of Dutch FA) to Blatter: 'Do you ever look on Twitter? You'd see that millions of people are agains you.'— Elko Born (@Elko_B) June 10, 2014
Gibson adds that former UEFA president Lennart Johansson has joined the rallying cry:
Lennart Johansson, the former Uefa president vanquished by Blatter in 98, says it is time for him to step down as Fifa president.— Owen Gibson (@owen_g) June 10, 2014
Earlier this week, Blatter made headlines when he launched a questionable response to The Sunday Times' allegations, referring to the British media as "racist" and claiming that its goal was to "destroy the institution," according to Gibson:
"I still have fire inside me and, if we show unity, that is the best way to deal with those in the world that want to destroy FIFA."
Blatter made the claims while speaking to UEFA Congress. As a result, many, including former Manchester United chief executive and current UEFA ExCo member David Gill, have called for Blatter to step down, per the Daily Mail's Matt Lawton:
Gill also challenged Blatter on his astonishing attack on the British media. 'The statement from Mr Blatter yesterday was totally unacceptable and factually incorrect. To try to portray it as a racist or discriminatory attack is sheer...totally unacceptable.'
Gill agreed Blatter's comments had left 'a stain' on FIFA, adding that it was 'disappointing' that the 78-year-old had gone back on his declaration in 2011 and chosen to stand again as president.
The 78-year-old Blatter has served as FIFA president since June of 1998 but has been at the centre of controversy throughout his time in office. With criticism and opposition piling up, it would appear that Blatter's days are numbered as the face of the organization.
However, it's clear that the Swiss has the support of many important figures within and around FIFA as he prepares to run for a fifth term.
Although the football association chairmen are likely to gain additional support as more details emerge regarding the Qatar corruption controversy, it's still far too early to draw any conclusions or determine the legitimacy of the allegations.
With the 2014 FIFA World Cup just two days away, the debate could potentially threaten the sanctity of the sport's premier competition.
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