Newspaper headlines: Fifa crisis, Cameron meetings and rail strike

The corruption crisis at Fifa continues to dominate the front pages, amid the football governing body's presidential election and talk of a World Cup boycott.

The Guardian describes how Fifa president Sepp Blatter appeared for the first time since the scandal broke, when seven senior Fifa officials were arrested at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich and seven more were charged in the US.

The paper says Mr Blatter appealed to the 209 member associations that will decide his immediate fate, in his opening address to Fifa's congress in Zurich.

The Sun, "Give me his head on a Blatter", and the Metro, "It's time to Sepp down", go down the pun route to get their message across.

The Independent says European football chief Michel Platini refused to rule out a boycott of future Fifa tournaments - which would include the 2018 World Cup in Russia - by Uefa's 54 member countries.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Sepp Blatter opened Fifa's congress in Zurich

The Independent continues: "Mr Platini's words raise the prospect of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - all members of Uefa - pulling out of the tournament."

The Times says the crisis threatened to turn into a geopolitical stand-off as western politicians, led by David Cameron, lined up against Mr Blatter while Russia's President Putin offered him a notable show of support, condemning what he saw as a "blatant attempt" by the US to expand its global influence.

The Sun believes Mr Blatter's empire is crumbling - and international football could disintegrate with it.

In the Mirror's words: "Re-electing the fatcat of football today would would be a damning indictment of all those who back him when what Fifa needs is a new broom to sweep away the bribes, kickbacks and money laundering that stain the beautiful game."

Trampling canapes

Owen Gibson, in Zurich for the Guardian, writes: "Fifa's lavish £150m headquarters in the hills above Zurich has been so often described as a Bond villain's lair that the comparison has long since passed into cliche.

"But never has it been more appropriate than yesterday, when a self-pitying Sepp Blatter spent the morning holed up in his office receiving a string of visitors as he tried to plot a way out of the worst crisis of his 17-year tenure as president."

"Madonna is playing the Hallenstadion later this year," reports the Independent's Tom Peck from the congress. "If she follows the Sepp Blatter formula the crowd will love it.

"Stick to the greatest hits, and whatever you do, don't try any new material."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption World football's HQ or Bond villain's lair?

Michael Deacon in the Telegraph talks of an elephant in the room at Fifa's congress, trampling the canapes and using its trunk to fling a delegate into a chocolate fountain.

In a leading article, the Times says it agrees with shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant that it is "embarrassing" that American and Swiss rather than British officials took action against Fifa's alleged corruption.

Ann Treneman in the Times describes how the Commons debate on the crisis played out.

"It's not often that I get to be a referee but, yesterday, as the House debated the Fifa arrests, there I was, dressed in stripes, which are rather fashion-forward at the moment, whistle to hand.

"My main problem? Everyone else wanted to be a referee too. My second problem? As this was the first debate of the new Parliament, everyone was making their debut.

"The showing off was extreme. Final score? Hyperbole 4 Action 0."

'Eyeball to eyeball'

The papers follow David Cameron round Europe as he presses European leaders for EU reforms ahead of a UK in/out referendum by 2017.

The Times says Mr Cameron held a difficult meeting with French President Francois Hollande where they agreed that there was still "a lot to work through" before agreement was reached on the European Union.

The Telegraph says Mr Hollande hinted at frustration at Britain's guarded negotiating position.

The paper says German Chancellor Angela Merkel must take what Mr Cameron has to say very seriously when she meets him.

"If the EU's leadership fails to strike a deal with Mr Cameron that satisfies his voters, then the country could opt to leave in its forthcoming referendum," it says.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption All smiles... but some tough talking to come

"In a sense, Mrs Merkel and her European colleagues are not just negotiating with the prime minister.

"They are going eyeball to eyeball with the Conservative Party and with Britain's large constituency of Eurosceptics."

The Guardian says France issued Mr Cameron with a blunt warning that his plans were a "dangerous" process.

The paper believes the prime minister faces a very difficult task: "He has to dissipate a mood, to alter a consciousness, and to relieve a condition of permanent grievance among a significant proportion of the population which has actually very little to do with what happens in the [European] union or with what policies it does or does not adopt."

The Independent said Mr Cameron discovered there was scant appetite for EU reform as he visited Paris and The Hague.

'Over a barrel'

The Mirror says millions of passengers face chaos with a national rail strike in prospect.

The RMT union has called the action for 24 hours from 17:00 BST on 4 June and 48 hours from 17:00 on 9 June.

The Times says it would be the first national walkout on the railway in two decades, after industrial action over the last bank holiday weekend was called off.

The Telegraph says the action is expected to cause widespread disruption to rail travel, with a knock-on effect in some areas as commuters take to the roads instead.

In an opinion piece, the Express accuses the union's members of "refusing to see sense".

It says: "The unions know that as long as they can hold our nation to ransom by threatening vital transport systems they have got Network Rail over a barrel.

"There is nothing to stop them using and abusing that power time and time again even if it makes the lives of travellers a misery."

Reading space

The Times reports that a war is raging at the British Library but for once it isn't confined to the pages of an ancient text.

Senior academics, we are told, have complained that they are unable to find space to work on rare books because the library is overcrowded with students attracted by the free wi-fi.

The professors, from some of the country's top institutions, say the library has been turned into a giant "students' union" with young people watching films and reading novels rather than carrying out research.

English literature professor Grace Ioppolo tells the paper: "I yelled at a kid once because he had his feet up on the desk and was watching a movie on top volume in the rare books section.

Image copyright Science Photo Library

"The British Library should be a library of last resort not first resort. The issue is that there are no seats left for those of us who need to see the rare books.

"The material is unique here; nowhere else can I see the Ben Johnson manuscripts and I need to have space to sit down."

The Times says the peace and tranquility of the British Library is under threat.

"The clue is in the name," it states. "The celebrated study spaces at the British Library are called reading rooms. They are not called texting, tweeting, youtubing, facebooking, instagramming or, heaven forbid, flirting rooms."


And a surprise visitor to Downing Street makes an appearance in several of the papers.

A heron, dubbed "Cam-heron", is pictured perched on top of the open front door at Number 10.

"Looking for Sturgeon?" asks the Telegraph. Thinking along the same lines, the Sun has the bird saying: "I fancy a bite of Salmond."

The Mail says the big bird avoided the police officer who is usually on duty outside, while eight-year-old tabby cat Larry was elsewhere.

The Telegraph explains that, according to insiders, the door had been left open due to the hot weather and the bird flew in having been chased by a crow.

The Mirror says the heron eventually winged its way back to its home in nearby St James's Park.

"Yesterday's incident is unlikely to trigger a wave of invading herons," says the Telegraph.

"Unlike the tits that used to peck the tops off milk bottles or the sparrows that plague Italian cafe tables, herons have no reputation for mass trespass.

"Don't panic, should be the response, or keep your her-on."

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Media captionIsabel Hardman, assistant editor of The Spectator, and Jim Waterson, Buzzfeed's deputy editor, join the BBC News Channel to review Friday's front pages

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