Stewart Regan: Uefa nations have discussed Fifa exit

Under-fire Fifa president Sepp Blatter. Picture: Getty

Under-fire Fifa president Sepp Blatter. Picture: Getty

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THE head of Scottish football said last night that Uefa’s member nations have talked about leaving Fifa and setting up a rival governing body if Sepp Blatter wins today’s presidential election.

A European boycott of the World Cup was also mooted as Uefa finally lost its patience with the game’s most powerful man.

Stewart Regan. Picture: John Devlin

Stewart Regan. Picture: John Devlin

The Swiss incumbent is favourite to secure a fifth term of office, although his odds have lengthened considerably following the dramatic events of Wednesday when a dawn raid by Swiss police saw seven Fifa officials arrested. All are challenging extradition to the USA where authorities have indicted 18 people on corruption charges.

Blatter’s only rival in the Fifa presidency election is Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan.

Stewart Regan, the Scottish Football Association chief executive, said momentum was building behind Prince Ali who is expected to enjoy the support of 45 or 46 of the 53 Uefa nations.

Regan said: “Prince Ali has now come into focus and from conversations in the Uefa hotel last night is being seen as a very credible candidate – and a potential candidate to unite other confederations as well.”

The problem for Ali and Uefa, however, is that Blatter can call on the mass support of Africa and South America, as well as much of Asia, which should be enough to propel him to victory.

If that happens, the mood among Uefa’s member associations could turn to mutinous, according to Regan.

Fifa’s Sepp Blatter vows to stay amid quit calls

“There has to be change. There has to be change now,” the SFA chief told BBC Scotland.

“In light of the events of the last 24 hours, all of the 54 associations gathered within the Uefa meeting this morning were of the mind that enough was enough.

“In the event that president Blatter is re-elected tomorrow, we will meet again with the other [Uefa] associations in Berlin in a couple of weeks’ time.

“There are a number of options, an extraordinary congress which would only require a simple majority rather than a 75 per cent majority to try and create change.

“There could, of course, be a rival body. There could, of course, be threats of not participating in competitions. All of these things have been discussed.

“Clearly there needs to be a common and consistent strategy – one that’s bought into by all Uefa members. It’s too early to speculate what that might be.”

Michel Platini, the Uefa president, declared “enough is enough” yesterday and in a face-to-face showdown demanded that Blatter quit.

The Swiss refused and Platini did not rule out the possibility of a World Cup boycott if Blatter is re-elected. The Frenchman said Uefa would unite behind Prince Ali and when asked if a boycott of Fifa competitions was a possibility, replied: “Uefa associations will meet in Berlin next week. We will be open to all 
options.”

Pressed further on the prospect of a World Cup boycott, Platini added: “There may be proposals. I honestly don’t wish that.”

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