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Blatter must stand down, says Dyke

ENGLAND's football officials rounded on FIFA president Sepp Blatter yesterday telling him he must stand down next year and that his claim racism was behind World Cup corruption allegations was "offensive and totally unacceptable".

Greg Dyke, the Football Association chairman, responded forcefully to Blatter at a meeting of UEFA federations in Sao Paulo after the FIFA president had addressed the room indicating he would stand again for a fifth term.

Dyke and England's UEFA vice-president David Gill both said Blatter should not commit a U-turn on his 2011 pledge to stand down in 2015. They were at the forefront of a European rebellion against Blatter, despite the incumbent president appearing to have huge support in other continental confederations.

"What Mr Blatter said yesterday I found offensive," said Dyke. "I said [to him], 'I regard the comments you made yesterday about the allegations in the British media in which you described them as racist as totally unacceptable.

"The allegations being made have nothing to do with racism, they are allegations about corruption within FIFA. These allegations need to be properly investigated and properly answered. Mr Blatter, many of us are deeply troubled by your reaction to these allegations, it's time for FIFA to stop attacking the messenger and instead consider and understand the message."

Dyke said Blatter should stick with his 2011 decision to step down next year and warned that FIFA was suffering from the constant bad publicity. "We were asked at a meeting fairly recently and our view was that among the British public there wasn't any doubt that brand FIFA is severely damaged and I suspect that's the same throughout large parts of Europe," he said.

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