LONDON: FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali of Jordan has hailed the decision of the French federation to go ahead with tonight’s friendly international against England at Wembley writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Prince Ali will be attending the match which takes place in the shadow of the terrorist outrages in Paris last Friday which left 129 people dead and 350 injured. One of the targets was the France v Germany match at the Stade de France.
“I applaud the decision of the French football association,” said Prince Ali who embarrassed Sepp Blatter in the FIFA presidential election last May by preventing the veteran Swiss gaining what he had expected to be a first-round knockout victory.
Prince Ali added: “Along with thousands of others, I am continuing with my plans to attend the match, which were set some weeks ago, and to show solidarity with the people of France and the victims of terror everywhere.
“The goal of terrorism is to disrupt daily life and to create division, fear and hatred. The world of football stands united in defiance of this heinous mentality.
“Our hearts go out to the victims, the bereaved and the injured in Paris. We in Jordan are sadly all too familiar with such events. A few days ago, we commemorated the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed many of our citizens.
“I lost friends and family in that and other attacks.”
Prince Ali is one of the five men whose candidacies for the FIFA election next February 26 have been approved by the world federation’s electoral committee.
His statement acknowledged: “It can be hard to find any light in these days of mourning, but we can perhaps draw solace from the resilience of the hundreds of thousands of football fans around the world who defy the terrorists with their love of the game and of life.
“Racism, hate, xenophobia and conflict must never be allowed to soil our game. We can lead the way as an example to the world.
“We can show the world that through sport, and in particular football, we can be an example of good practice where the only colour that matters is the colour of the shirt; where the only chant that matters is the chant of our team and where the only conflict that matters is on the pitch.”
The international players’ union, FIFPro, has offered its own support to the French and German players who return to national team action tonight – Germany host Holland in Hannover.
President Philippe Piat said: “We know the players in London and Hannover will be the perfect ambassadors for football. It is important to show society cannot give in to the actions of a minority.”
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