MANCHESTER: Sepp Blatter has been attacked for not quitting as FIFA president far earlier than last June because of the way FIFA’s reputation had collapsed under the weight of scandal writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

That fortright opinion was set out by Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein in a swingeing critique of the 79-year-old’s tenure at the world football federation.

Prince Ali, addressing Soccerex in Manchester, said: “Anybody in any position of that nature should take responsibility for what happens in the organisation.

“There is no saying: ‘It’s everybody else’s fault.’ You are responsible for what happens, whether you like it or not and he should have stepped down a while ago. If he really had the best interests of fooball [in mind] he would have done that.”

The failure of FIFA’s leaders, including many executive members, to take the lead in terms of correct behaviour contributed significantly to a perception of a culture of corruption.

Prince Ali added: “There are questions [within FIFA] as to what is considered acceptable and what it is not and it is not clearly defined. That is one of the issues we have to tackle in reform.

“People want to look up to the leadership of their organisation and if other people get away with things then they think that’s the norm. So you have to make things clear as to what is acceptable and what is not. So you need real transparency, from the top.”

Prince Ali was in no doubt that many senior directors in football knew, but remained silent, about tangled issues of contracts and commissions.

He said: “People knew undoubtedly. You cannot not know. That comes back to responsibility. Then when something comes up, as with the investigations from the United States and Switzerland, people said: ‘We had nothing to do with it, it’s about individuals.’ No. It’s not.

“If a national association or a player or somebody breaks the rules they are punished regardless of where they come from so why is the executive committee different?”

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