London: The acting chairman of the English Football Association withdrew his candidacy for the permanent post, saying he “cannot trust” FIFA after its decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia.
Roger Burden sent a letter to FA board members where he harshly criticized FIFA’s decision to eliminate England in the first round of votes, saying “it is difficult to believe that the voting was an objective process.”
Joint bids from Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands then lost to Russia.
Burden said he will not run for the permanent post because he doesn’t want to work closely with FIFA anymore.
“I recognize that an important part of the role is liaison with FIFA, our global governing body,” he wrote. “I am not prepared to deal with people whom I cannot trust and I have withdrawn my candidacy.”
English bid officials were upset at getting only two votes Thursday from the 22 FIFA executive committee members saying several more had pledged to support the bid.
“We were equal top of FIFA’s own technical assessment of the four bids,” Burden said. “We were top of an independent assessment of the best commercial bids and our presentation on Thursday was widely acclaimed as the best of the 2018 and 2022 bids.
“Against this background, I am struggling to understand how we only achieved two votes. It is difficult to believe that the voting was an objective process.”
Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup, beating out the United States in the final vote.
The English bid struggled to shake off the negative effects of British media stories that accused FIFA of corruption, and a last-minute blitz by Prime Minster David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham proved unable to turn sentiment around.
“I am well aware that some of the UK media coverage could have upset some of the FIFA executive committee,” Burden said.
“We have a free press in our country and we all have to live with adverse comment from time to time. But there is no doubt that English football benefits from the media coverage that it receives and would have been given great coverage if we had brought the World Cup to England.”
He added that “I have no issue with Russia’s winning bid. I am sure they will put on a great World Cup and I have congratulated them.”
The FA is expected to meet on December 22 to elect a permanent chairman.