AMMAN: Prince Ali of Jordan has insisted that Sepp Blatter should step down now as president of world football federation FIFA after the shock suspension of secretary-general Jerome Valcke writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, who denied Blatter a first round knockout victory in the FIFA election in May, is standing again in the vote due to be staged at an extraordinary congress next February 26.

In a statement in response to Valcke’s effective departure he said:  “The reputational damage to FIFA continues. Surely it is time for a new generation with new ideas to take over.

“The old regime should step aside now, so a new team can effect a complete reform of the organisation to reflect the change that the national associations and fans of the game around the world are calling for.”

Valcke was relieved of his duties on Thursday while on his way to join the 1,000-day-out celebrations ahead of the opening of the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia. His charter flight turned back while allegations about a ticketing scam were also being laid against him – which he denied.

Meanwhile officials, players and fans celebrated the date in Red Square, Moscow, without Valcke.

Vitaly Mutko, the Russian Sports Minister who is also Russian football president and a member of the FIFA executive committee, said that Valcke’s removal from his post would not affect preparations for 2018.

“All out plans and preparations are in place and proceeding very well,” said Mutko.