- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ZURICH (AP) - The English Football Association has called on FIFA to postpone Wednesday’s presidential election in the wake of the bribery scandal that led to Sepp Blatter’s only challenger withdrawing.

The FA had already said it was abstaining before the allegations emerged that led to presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam and fellow FIFA executive committee member Jack Warner being suspended.

Now, in a statement released Tuesday, the FA is calling for a delay to the election so a new “reforming candidate” might be found and an independent body appointed to supervise reforms of FIFA in the wake of the organization’s biggest crisis in its 107-year history.

“We call on FIFA and ask other national associations to support us with two initiatives,” FA chairman David Bernstein said in a statement. “First, to postpone the election and give credibility to this process, so any alternative reforming candidate could have the opportunity to stand for president.

“Secondly, to appoint a genuinely independent external party to make recommendations regarding improved governance and compliance procedures and structures throughout the FIFA decision-making processes for consideration by the full membership.”

The FA would need to find support from 75 percent of the 208 members of the congress to bring about a postponement of the election.

English soccer’s governing body had faced criticism for its decision to abstain in the election, but Bernstein feels vindicated given the latest crisis.

Caribbean soccer leaders are alleged to have been paid $40,000 each to back bin Hammam’s now-abandoned presidential bid during a visit to Warner’s native Trinidad.

“There were two main reasons for this decision (to abstain),” Bernstein said. “First, a concern, that a series of allegations relating to FIFA ExCo (executive committee) members made it difficult to support either candidate.

“Secondly, a concern about the lack of transparency and accountability within the organization, contributing to the current unsatisfactory situation. Events of the last few days have reinforced our views.”

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