KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Prince Ali of Jordan promised today to finish “what we started” as he launched himself on another bid for the FIFA presidency. Simultaneously he derided Michel Platini for failing to show the courage of new-found convictions.
Back in January Prince Ali bin Al Hussein launched the first campaign which denied incumbent Sepp Blatter a decisive first round victory at the world federation congress in Zurich in May.
Now Prince Ali is back in the race, promising to see that every one of FIFA’s 209 federations has a dedicated national stadium and to put greater resources into developing the women’s game across the world.
His launch speech in the Jordanian capital, Amman, also made no secret of a sense of betrayal by UEFA president Michel Platini who is standing for president this time but would not challenge Blatter last time around.
Prince Ali said: “Ten months ago, I was the only person who dared to challenge Mr Blatter for the Presidency of FIFA. I ran because I believe that FIFA needs change – and I had the courage to fight for change when others were afraid.
“I conceded that election. Not because I was not the best candidate, but because others were using me to make room for themselves. They didn’t have the guts to run, but I did. Ever since President Blatter promised his resignation just a few days later, they have been scrambling to secure the job for themselves.
“I didn’t stand for election the first time to make way for others. This election should be about football and not personal ambition. We have come too far to walk away now. I will not be a pawn for others. I cannot leave the field that I have cleared, only to allow a flawed system to continue.”
Prince Ali continued: “Football is hope. It is unity – and it is a powerful tool to make the world a better place. I have seen this in my years as President of the Jordan Football Association and as I have travelled the world over, I have seen the same story no matter where I have been.”
But for FIFA, as the world game’s governing body, to lead the way it need a change of both culture and personnel.
Prince Ali said: “It is only through new leadership that FIFA can change. I do not believe that FIFA can give this sport back to the people of the world, without new leadership, untainted by the practices of the past.
“Since the last election, I have thought long and hard about how to reform FIFA. It will be a difficult task. We must overcome deep-seated corruption and political deal-making.
“This is about right and wrong. It’s time for us to stand up for what we believe in. I am my own man, with my own beliefs . . . I am free of influence and free of manipulation. I am here to serve the people who love this sport, people tired of foul play getting in their way.”
Prince Ali wanted a better FIFA for “boys and girls who do not have access to proper kits or balls”, for players and fans and “member associations, officials and sponsors who want to do things the right way.”
That right way was not a FIFA “run as the personal fiefdom of an all-powerful clique” condemning member associations “reliant on a drip feeding system of support from Zurich.”
At the end of his single lone four-year term he wanted to see every single member association have a dedicated national stadium, would increase dramatically development programs to provide artificial pitches and training facilities and provide “more robust investment” for the women’s game.
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