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Dyke: Blatter comments totally unacceptable

ESPN staff
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Sepp Blatter has been FIFA president for nearly 16 years © Getty Images
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FA chairman Greg Dyke and Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) chief Michael van Praag have urged Sepp Blatter not to stand for re-election as FIFA president.

Dyke and Van Praag, who were attending a meeting of the national associations of UEFA in Sao Paulo which Blatter attended, suggested that the Swiss should reverse his decision to stand for a fifth term in office.

Van Praag claimed that "people link FIFA to corruption and bribery and all kinds of old boy's network" and said a change was necessary in order to change this perception, adding to Dutch newspaper Volkskrant: "The image of FIFA has been tarnished by everything that has happened over the last years.

"There are very few people who still take FIFA seriously and whatever way you want to cut and dice it, Blatter is responsible in the end."

Van Praag stressed that it was not a personal attack on Blatter, who on Monday accused critics of FIFA's decision to award 2022 World Cup hosting rights to Qatar of having a racist motivation.

Those comments, in response to claims from The Sunday Times that corruption was central to Qatar's successful bid, were met angrily by FA chairman Dyke, who described them as "totally unacceptable."

"I said to him, 'I regard the comments you made yesterday about allegations in the British media in which you described them as racist as totally unacceptable,'" Dyke revealed after the meeting. "The allegations being made are nothing to do with the racism, they are allegations about corruption."

Blatter was seeking support from European football's governing body for his re-election bid but failed to find it, with UEFA vice president David Gill among those unhappy with Blatter's decision to perform a U-turn on his 2011 promise to stand down as president at the end of his fourth term.

"The very fact in 2011 he was clear it was just for four years, that should have been the situation. To change his mind is disappointing," Gill said. "I think we need to move on. I think we need a full, frank and open debate about what FIFA needs going forward."

Gill echoed the sentiment of Dyke on Blatter's claims of racism, adding: "The statement made by Mr Blatter yesterday was from our point of view totally incorrect. This was about the issue being raised quite rightly in the British media which should be addressed by the world governing body and to try and portray it as racist or a discriminatory attack is totally unacceptable."

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