The Football Association will abstain in the forthcoming Fifa presidential election because of doubts over the probity of Sepp Blatter and his challenger, Mohamed Bin Hammam.
The decision was made on Thursday after a majority of the board overruled Premier League voices in favour of supporting Bin Hamman’s challenge to Blatter.
The 12-man board backed chairman David Bernstein’s proposal to snub both Bin Hammam and Blatter. At least two members from the professional game are thought to have opposed abstention.
Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards is understood to have spoken in favour of backing Bin Hammam, who has been a strong supporter of the League in recent seasons.
League chief executive Richard Scudamore has also visited Bin Hammam at home in Qatar, most recently in February. A Premier League spokesman said Richards was acting in a personal capacity as an FA board member.
Last week, Bernstein said that abstention could be a “principled” position, but if the decision is a protest at Fifa’s flawed governance it was hard to tell on Thursday as the chairman gave only the briefest of statements.