KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Prince Ali of Jordan has been pomised a decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport by tomorrow on his request for suspension of Friday’s FIFA Congress in an escalating row over voting procedures.

A statement from lawyers advising Prince Ali bin Al Hussein has indicated they are seeking ‘provisional measures’ from sport’s Lausanne-based supreme court to postpone votes on both reform proposals and a presdential successor to banned and disgraced Sepp Blatter. Sport’s supreme court has said it will take a decision no later than Thursday morning.

Prince Ali: Maintaining pressure for transparency

FIFA’s electoral commission, headed by Swiss businessman Domenico Scala, had rejected both a request from Prince Ali to use glass voting booths – which he has brought to Zurich – and to seek an accelerated adjudication from CAS before Friday’s congress.

Now FIFA is being forced to face up to the issue anyway as Prince Ali has explained in a letter to the presidents of all FIFA’s 209 national assoc iations.

Prince Ali, one of five candidates for the presidency, considered the decision as denying  “any right to a fair and transparent voting process.”

New demand
His lawyers – Szpiner, Toby, Ayela and Semerdjian – said: “We have registered a new demand at the CAS asking for the suspension of the election scheduled for Friday February 26.
“FIFA opposed our request for an accelerated procedure (at the CAS) so that these questions could be decided before February 26. “It was therefore natural that Prince Ali goes to the CAS.”

Already French candidate Jerome Champagne has objected to the number of observer accreditations to the congress floor which have been issued to aides of front-runner candidates Gianni Infantino, the Swiss general secretary of European federation UEFA, and Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Bahraini president of the Asian confederation who is a FIFA vice-president.

Prince Ali’s letter:

Dear fellow Presidents,

The FIFA Presidential election should go ahead as planned but only if it is free, fair and honest.

Nearly two weeks ago, on February 11, I wrote to the FIFA Ad Hoc Electoral Committee concerned about reports that voters would again be under pressure to photograph their ballots to prove that they voted as directed, as happened in the last election.

I offered a solution to provide transparent voting booths. FIFA agreed that the integrity of the election could be compromised but rejected the use of transparent voting booths.

FIFA’s alternative plan is to tell delegates to leave their mobile phones outside the voting booths. This proposal is unenforceable and without sanction.

On February 22nd, I appealed to CAS and requested an expedited hearing to resolve the matter before Friday’s election. FIFA blocked an expedited hearing.

I want this election to occur as soon as possible, but not at the risk of undermining its integrity. The transparent voting booths are now in

Zurich and available for use in Friday’s election.

The eyes of the world are on this election. Everything must be done to ensure that its integrity is intact.

CAS statement:

LAUSANNE: The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered an appeal and request for urgent provisional measures filed by HRH Prince Ali Al Hussein of Jordan 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.

HRH Prince Ali Al Hussein seeks 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.

FIFA has been invited to file written observations in reply to Prince Ali’s request.

The request for provisional measures will be decided by CAS no later than the morning of Thursday 25 February 2016. In the meantime, the CAS will not comment on this pending matter.