KEIR RADNEDGE at the DEAD SEA: The phoney war in the FIFA presidential race is approaching a crucial phase as to whether just one of the three challengers takes on Sepp Blatter.

Last week Portugal’s Luis Figo and Holland’s Michael Van Praag retreated from discussing the issue but Prince Ali of Jordan believes the three may need to resolve the issue between them.

Prince Ali . . . weighing votes in the countdown

Blatter, president of the world football federation since 1998, is pursuing a fifth term in office at FIFA Congress in Zurich on May 29.

Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, FIFA’s outgoing Asian vice-president, had said on Sunday during the Soccerex Asian Forum here by the Dead Sea that he would consider entering pre-election negotiations.

He reiterated that stance today in saying: “I have tremendous respect for both the other challengers. We all have our different approaches but we have one common goal about the need for change in FIFA . . . We are working for the same goal.

‘Not withdrawing’

“It’s not about one person but it would be ideal if we come to the conclusion on who, as a candidate, has the best chance of winning and that we support that candidate.”

Prince Ali was adamant in adding: “I am not considering withdrawing.”

Figo, who is rank outsider, conceded his personal uncertainty about the campaign last week.

The former World Player of the Year was upset at being denied a speaking opportunity at regional congresses in the Americas, Africa and Asia. He said: “I don’t know what’s going to happen. In this world everything can happen. I don’t even know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

Van Praag, more circumspect and confident about his own support base in Europe, said: “I’m not going to discuss this through the media. If it’s up for discussion then we can meet and discuss.”

Most observers believe the candidate with the widest support across the football world to be Prince Ali who has hopes of gathering votes in central and north America as well as in Asia and, particularly, in Europe.

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