Prince Ali to Stand For FIFA Presidency

January 6, 2015

By Christian Radnedge

Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, vice-president of FIFA, has announced his intention to stand for the presidency of world football’s governing body this year.

The head of the West Asia Football Federation released a statement to members of the media on Tuesday explaining his decision to challenge Sepp Blatter for the top job in football.

“I am seeking the presidency of FIFA because I believe it is time to shift the focus away from administrative controversy and back to sport,” Prince Ali said. “This was not an easy decision. 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.”

The decision to stand comes almost exactly a year after the first candidate in the process launched his own bid – former FIFA official Jerome Champagne.

Champagne responded to Prince Ali’s bid to stand in a broad statement saying: “The 2015 election is not about personal ambitions or fights between institutions.

“It is about football, its governance but also its future with a clear choice.”

He added: “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 20th January 2014!

“The debate we all and football need.”

That debate centres on FIFA’s challenges with transparency, particularly in light of the Garcia report into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids that were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.

It’s seen to have been a chink in the armour of Blatter who has held the post of FIFA president since 1998 and made clear his intention to stand for a fifth term in office last year.

A lack of trust in the FIFA leadership has seen widespread criticism from the international community and may have been instrumental in Emirates and Sony withdrawing their sponsorship from the federation.

Prince Ali has always maintained his desire to move the discussion away from politics and back to the actual sport in his time as vice-president since 2011.

“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.’”

The FIFA presidential election will take place at the association’s 65th Congress in Zurich on May 29.

Europe’s governing body UEFA has previously stated its wish to put forward a European candidate. However time is running out as the deadline is January 29.

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