LONDON: Former England captain David Beckham has described the corruption allegations swirling around world governing body FIFA as “despicable, unacceptable and awful”.
The scandal, which has seen Sepp Blatter step down as FIFA president, plunged to new depths on Wednesday with former executive committee member Chuck Blazer’s admission that he took or handled bribes during the bidding process for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups, awarded to France and South Africa respectively.
Beckham, one of the sport’s biggest names, said he had been left with a “sick feeling” after believing he had secured support for England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup, only to see the tournament awarded to Russia.
“Some of the things that we now know happened were despicable, unacceptable and awful for the game we love so much,” Beckham said in a statement.
“While it has not been good to read some of the headlines surrounding our sport recently, I hope at last we are now moving in the right direction.
“Football is not owned by a few individuals at the top — it belongs to the millions of people around the world who love this sport. It is time for FIFA to change and we should all welcome it.”
Blazer’s revelations came to light following publication of his testimony to the US Department of Justice, which has indicted 14 people — including several current or former top FIFA officials — as part of a corruption probe.