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'Elect me or risk catastrophe': FIFA candidate


Prince Ali bin al-Hussein warns FIFA risks catastrophe unless he is elected president next month and entrusted with cleaning up an organisation reeling from corruption charges.

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“Everybody recognises this is the last chance in February to get it right. Otherwise, things will happen maybe in a different way,” the Jordanian royal, among five candidates vying to succeed President Sepp Blatter, said in London.

“We don’t want a situation where, two years down the line or a year down the line, again more scandals come out.”

Prince Ali was on the executive committee from 2011-15, sitting alongside several men indicted by American prosecutors and/or banned by FIFA. He was beaten in May’s presidential election by Blatter, who announced his resignation the following week amid criminal investigations into FIFA, then was banned last month.

“This is an incredibly important moment for the future of the organisation, in the upcoming election,” the prince said.

“It would be a catastrophe for the organisation if things do not go in the right way.”

The prince was a frontrunner until Asian Football Confederation President Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa declared his candidacy. While the Bahraini sheikh wants to be a non-executive president and disperse power, Prince Ali maintains Blatter’s successor must be a hands-on leader in full control.

“If you are the president … you have to take responsibility for that organisation. I have seen in the past at FIFA, this whole idea of blaming others for what happens in the organisation. So I don’t want this organisation to go to a new level of irresponsibility.”

Prince Ali’s updated manifesto restricts presidents to two four-year terms, after Blatter’s 17-year reign and predecessor Joao Havelange’s 24 years.

FIFA’s members will vote on whether to adopt three-term limits on February 26, the same day as the presidential vote. Prince Ali would have to ask a later congress to adopt shorter limits.

“Two is enough. You have to be hard-working and that includes the president … You have to be dedicated to roll up your sleeves and work on the ground for the benefit of 209 member associations.”

The prince gained 73 votes in May’s election, but UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino has been backed by Europe’s governing body in a candidacy prompted by the suspension of his boss Michel Platini.

Platini was banned for eight years with Blatter over a 2 million Swiss franc payment the UEFA president received from FIFA in 2011 for work supposedly carried out without a contract.

“In this day and age, to have an oral agreement is totally irresponsible,” the prince said. “You have to be open. It has to be accountable.”

The prince wants transparent votes so the world can see which nation voted for a president or World Cup host. The current rules call for a secret ballot.

“I am determined that we save FIFA and do it from within.”


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