ZURICH/AMMAN: Prince Ali of Jordan has submitted formally his candidature for the FIFA presidency 11 days ahead of the nominations deadline writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
To fulfil the criteria the former Asian vice-president of the world governing body had to provide written support letters from at least five national associations plus an assurance of football involvement in two of the past five years.
The latter stipulation was no problem since Prince Ali was a member of the FIFA executive committee from 2011 until May of this year and is serving president of the Jordan football federation.
Jordan is obviously one of his supporters but Prince Ali refused to name the other federations “out of respect,” leaving them to make their own decisions.
Prince Ali is the second man to have submitted his application to succeed Sepp Blatter at the extraordinary elective congress next February 26. Last week Michel Platini, French president of European governing body UEFA, led the way , hours ahead of being suspended from all football activities for 90 days by the FIFA ethics committee.
Other contenders who have declared an interest include South Korean billionaire Chung Mong-joon, old Brazilian hero Zico, former Nigeria captain Segun Odegbami and Liberian FA president Musa Bility.
At the moment Chung’s prospective bid is dead in the water after the former FIFA vice-president was banned from the game for six years last week over events connected with an investigation into the controversial 2018-2022 World Cup bid process. He has promised to appeal but is running short of time.
Prince Ali stood against Blatter at the FIFA election in May and, with the support of UEFA, gained 73 votes which were enough to deny the incumbent a first-round knockout victory.
Increasingly, during his FIFA tenure, Prince Ali emerged as a proponent of the need for reform to which he is more convinced than ever.
In announcing his candidature submission he said: “This time of crisis at FIFA is an opportunity for positive change. Many good ideas have emerged in the current discussion over FIFA’s future.
“A better future will only come if ideas turn into action — and that will only happen if FIFA has the right leadership. I am confident that FIFA can emerge from this difficult period with its reputation restored and become organisation that is once again viewed with respect.”
Prince Ali has said he would want to be president for only one term which would last for little more than three years.
He has also written to the world’s 209 national associations insisting that “we cannot change the past but FIFA can have a better future.”
His letter added: We can ensure that FIFA regains the credibility to fulfil our obligations under our own statutes ‘to promote integrity, ethics and fair play.’
“I have never lost sight of the fact that there are so many good and honest people within the global FIFA organisation. The dark cloud over FIFA’s leadership should not cast its shadow on our member associations and the thousands of volunteers who work tirelessly to bring the joy football to young boys and girls, and millions of fans the world over.
“The crisis at FIFA is a crisis of leadership. I believe in this organisation. Together we will make it great again.
“I am one of you, an FA president, and I know how hard you strive to define football. I am sure that FIFA can and will again become an organisation that earns the respect it deserves.
“For all of us these are dark times. Restoring FIFA’s credibility will not be an easy task, but together it can be done. For the good of the game and all who love it, I humbly ask for the honour of your support.”
# # # #