KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Friday’s election of a new FIFA president will go ahead as scheduled after sport’s supreme court rejected a bid to freeze the process from Prince Ali of Jordan.

Prince Ali bin Al Hussein is one of five candidates contesting the succession of disgraced and banned Sepp Blatter at the head of the world football federation.

Prince Ali . . . ensuring new focus on the system

On Tuesday his lawyers appealed to the Court of Arbitration in Lausanne for glass polling boths to be used to help ensure that the voting system was not open to any form of manipulation.

Last week rival candidate Jerome Champagne persuaded the FIFA electoral committee to prohibit voters taking mobile phones with them into the booth.

Postponement of Friday’s election would have thrown FIFA into total confusion since the extraordinary congress is charged, first, with voting on a package of reform proposals before turning to the election of a new president.

Wasted year

The world game’s governing body has already, in effect, wasted a year replete with a worldwide raft of critical headlines over corruption after Blatter indicated his departure only four days after being re-elected for a fifth term.

In effect Prince Ali had turned to CAS after FIFA, initially, refused to consider his request for the use of transparent voting booths. Approaching CAS forced FIFA to respond and, in effect, ramp up its plans for ensuring the veracity of the voting procedure.

In a statement, Prince Ali said: “My central point throughout the campaign has been the honesty and integrity of the election, principles worth fighting for.

“I advocated for transparent voting booths on behalf of FA Presidents who want to vote their conscience, without worrying that someone with a different agenda is looking over their shoulder.

Losing battle

“I fought for them at FIFA and at CAS, and brought transparent booths to Zurich to eliminate any excuse for not using them.

“I have done all I can. I regret that the system let us down.

“The only positive aspect of today’s ruling is it that the election will now go forward as planned, and the media will be closely watching for any evidence that anyone is photographing their ballot.

“It is now imperative that voters abide by the ban on mobile phones and cameras in the voting booth. I look forward to Friday’s vote and remain as committed as ever to the goal of reforming FIFA.”

CAS statement:

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has today issued its decision on the urgent request for provisional measures filed by HRH Prince Ali Al Hussein of Jordan.

The request for provisional measures has been rejected by the President of the CAS Appeals Arbitration Division.

The full order with grounds will be communicated in a few days.

On 22 February 2016, HRH Prince Ali Al Hussein filed an appeal against a decision taken by the FIFA Ad-hoc Electoral Committee dated 15 February 2016 in which it declined to incorporate the use of transparent voting booths for the upcoming FIFA Presidential Election.

In an urgent request for provisional measures, HRH Prince Ali Al Hussein sought an order that FIFA be directed to use transparent voting booths, as well as independent scrutineers, in order to safeguard the integrity of the voting process and to ensure that the vote is conducted in secret.

In addition, HRH Prince Ali Al Hussein also asked for the FIFA Presidential Election to be postponed in the event the CAS could not rule on the request for provisional measures before the election, but this request is now moot.