Prince Ali to challenge Blatter for FIFA Presidency
Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein has announced his intention to stand as a candidate for FIFA Presidency.
Prince Ali, 39, elected FIFA vice-president for Asia in 2011, will challenge incumbent Sepp Blatter, who is seeking his fifth term in office.
The son of the late King Hussein and Queen Alia of Jordan, Prince Ali is a close ally of UEFA President Michel Platini, who is said to be “pleased” with the announcement, despite ruling himself out of the running for leadership of world football’s governing body in August.
Frenchman Jérôme Champagne is also in the frame having confirmed his candidacy in September ahead of the Presidential election in Zurich on May 29.
FIFA has been marred by controversy in recent months amid allegations of corruption surrounding the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded to Qatar and Russia respectively.
FIFA’s chief ethics investigator, Michael Garcia, resigned last month in protest of the handling of his report on the matter and Prince Ali says he believes “it is time to shift the focus away from administrative controversy and back to sport”.
“This was not an easy decision,” said the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Executive Committee member.
“It came after careful consideration and many discussions with respected FIFA colleagues over the last few months.
“The message I heard, over and over, was that it is time for a change.
“The world’s game deserves a world-class governing body – an International Federation that is a service organisation and a model of ethics, transparency and good governance.”
In June, the President of the AFC Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa of Bahrain scored a major political victory after members voted at its Extraordinary Congress to merge his role with that of FIFA vice-president, which is currently held by Prince Ali.
Both Sheikh Salman’s and Prince Ali’s positions with the AFC are up for re-election this year where it is widely expected that the Bahraini will be elected for a further four-years thus securing him a place on the FIFA Executive Board.
As President of the Jordan Football Association since 1999, Prince Ali has worked to promote unity and develop the sport throughout the region.
He founded the West Asia Football Federation in 2000 and launched the Asian Football Development Project in 2012.
The non-profit development project aims to develop football across Asia with a focus on youth development, empowering women, social responsibility and the protection and evolution of the game.
He also serves as chairman of the Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee and deputy chairman of the Football Committee at FIFA, as well as chairman of the Social Responsibility Committee and deputy chairman of the Development Committee at the AFC.
Prince Ali said he intends to run a positive campaign focused on ideas to strengthen and improve FIFA.
“The headlines should be about football, not about FIFA,” he said.
“FIFA exists to serve a sport which unites billions of people from all over the world, people of differing and divergent political, religious and social affiliations, who come together in their enjoyment of ‘the world’s game.'”
Champagne, who started his campaign in January 2014, has released a statement on the back of Prince Ali’s announcement.
“As I have been saying consistently, the 2015 election is not about personal ambitions or fights between institutions,” he said.
“It is about evolution for what needs imperatively to be changed in the future and about continuity for what has been done correctly in the past.
“It is about platforms, concrete proposals and visions.
“Mine are known, clear and public.
“So let’s wait for the release of the other alleged candidates’ programs and let’s start the democratic and fair debate that I have been calling upon since the first day of my campaign on January 20, 2014.
“The debate we all and football need.”
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, insidethegames.