John Whittingdale – 2015 Statement on Sepp Blatter and FIFA

johnwhittingdale

Below is the text of the speech made by John Whittingdale, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in the House of Commons on 1 June 2015.

Last Friday, FIFA’s members had the opportunity to embrace the overwhelming call for change that is coming from football fans around the world. They failed to do so. FIFA’s support for its discredited president was incredibly disappointing, but it will not have surprised the footballing public who have become increasingly cynical as the allegations of misconduct and malfeasance have piled up. FIFA needs to change—and to change now. I can assure the House that the Government will do all in their power to help bring change about.

I have just spoken to Football Association chairman, Greg Dyke, and assured him that we stand behind the English FA’s efforts to end the culture of kickbacks and corruption that risk ruining international football for a generation. I agreed with him that no options should be ruled out at this stage.

Let me also reiterate the Government’s support for the action of the American and Swiss authorities. Earlier today, I spoke with the Attorney General. We agreed that the British authorities will offer full co-operation with American and Swiss investigators, and that if any evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the UK emerges, we will fully the support the Serious Fraud Office in pursuing those involved.

FIFA’s voting system is designed to support the incumbent, and it returned a predictable result, but there is no doubt that what remained of Sepp Blatter’s credibility has been utterly destroyed. The mere fact that more than 70 national associations felt able to back a rival candidate shows that momentum against him is building. We must now increase that pressure still further. It is up to everyone who cares about football to use whatever influence they have to make this possible.

I am sure that fans the world over will be increasingly vocal in their condemnation of the Blatter regime, and FIFA’s sponsors need to think long and hard about whether they want to be associated with such a discredited and disgraced organisation. For the good of the game, we must work together to bring about change. For the good of the game, it is time for Sepp Blatter to go.