Blatter Refuses to Rule Out Re-Vote

FIFA President Sepp Blatter, under increasing pressure from the normally pliant and gullible collection of world media personnel, who regularly gather in the luxurious FIFA Headquarters press room to absorb his pearls of wisdom like received knowledge, found himself face-to-face with The Question:

If FIFA should find the evidence that Qatar obtained the 2022 World Cup by engaging in massive and widespread bribery of Executive Committee members, would they void the award and hold another vote?

Shockingly - or maybe not - Blatter refused to say no:

"It's an alarming (idea) but don't ask me now if yes or no."

Rather, he cautioned reporters that FIFA would take on that question "step by step".

He told the assembled media geeks, who normally do a flawless imitation of puppies begging to have their tummies scratched whenever Blatter is around, that FIFA officials will meet with the "whistleblower" who gave The Sunday Times the details of the Qatar committees' activities.

Said Whistleblower, a disgruntled ex-Qatar Bid Committee employee, may or may not be the same person who met with Wall Street Journal writer Matthew Futterman back in January and SHOWED HIM EVIDENCE that Qatar engaged in a series of soccer "investments" in countries that have ExCo members.

She also was the source for the story that Argentine FA President Grondona accepted $78 million to pay off the AFAs' debts, a story he has vehemently denied. Additionally, she has told various other reporters - including some very prominent American soccer writers who have so far remained quiet on the topic - that she had other evidence as well.

Now The Whistleblower has been invited to fly to Zurich and meet with General Secretary Jerome Valcke and FIFA legal director Marco Villiger, who will determine whether or not to submit the issue to the full FIFA Ethics Committee.

Blatter added that "It is of paramount importance that we have this situation clarified on (May) 27th", although the significance of that particular date - which is five days before the FIFA Congress will vote on the Presidency - is unclear.

As predicted in this space yesterday, the FA announced earlier today that in the face of the revelations of last week, particularly the testimony of Lord Triesman, that they do indeed intend to ABSTAIN FROM VOTING in the upcoming election, quoting FA chairman David Bernstein as saying:

"The FA board has today agreed to abstain in the vote for the presidency of FIFA. There are a well-reported range of issues both recent and current which, in the view of The FA board, make it difficult to support either candidate."

In response, Blatter snippily - if not insultingly - told the media earlier today:

"I think it is a little bit strange when the No. 1 one association in the world, ie the FA, have two candidates in front of them and cannot make a decision which one to support".

Which of course ignores the point; it's not a case of England not being able to "make a decision". Rather, it's a case of England not being able to stomach either one of the candidates, and he knows that as well as anyone else.

What makes this even more interesting is that all of the allegations that have been made these past months, and right up to Triesmans' statements last week, are related to the Qatar vote, in which they were not a candidate. England, you will recall, was bidding for 2018, which went to Russia, not 2022.

In other words, England is standing on principle.

Over to you, Sunil.