KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Prince Ali may be facing eviction as Asia’s FIFA vice-president but he is determined to run for an alternative AFC seat the world federation’s governing executive committee.
The Jordanian prince was effectively put on notice of departure in Sao Paulo in June when his AFC colleagues undertook a spectacular political about-turn.
Deciding that their president should also be the FIFA vice-president from next year meant Prince Ali would be denied the opportunity to seek re-election to the role.
Incandescent as he was at the time, Prince Ali has decided that his sense of responsibility to both Asian football and the international game at large demand that he stay and fight.
The causes which he espouses within FIFA – and which have ruffled more than a few feathers among the ‘old guard’ – include integrity checks and term limits.
First, of course, Prince Ali has to fight an election which could be as tough as the one in which he ousted South Korea’s Chung Mong-joon as Asia’s FIFA vice-president back in 2011.
He said: “I will run for a place on the FIFA executive committee for all of Asia. Obviously I have to consult with all the national associations first. But the particular role is not important.
“The title or who sits where around the table don’t matter to me. I’ve done what I have over the past three years to protect the interests of Asian football.
“I I spent a lot of time going to all the different countries to understand what’s going on and possible solutions and I hope that continues. Running for FIFA executive committee will give me even more opportunity to concentrate on that.”
Sheikh Salman took over the AFC presidency 18 months ago and critics are frustrated that little progress appears to have been made on crucial issues concerning commercial transparency and governance.
This latter issue is one on which Prince Ali believes that FIFA, also, is moving too slowly, if at all. Focus has returned to the subject after president Sepp Blatter announced his intention of running for a fifth term.
Prince Ali said: “I believe we should have term limits. It’s very important – and it should apply to everyone including the executive committee members. There’s nothing wrong with fresh blood to serve football.”
One of Prince Ali’s hopes is that term limits and integrity checks may be included in the recommendations due from ethics chairman Michael Garcia’s two-year investigation into the 2018-2022 World Cup awards scandal.
Prince Ali said: “Everyone should have a background check. According to FIFA it only applies for new members which I think is wrong. Why doesn’t it apply to all members? If you have nothing to hide then that’s no problem.
“This is one of the issues I want to bring up within FIFA.
“Also, talking about elections I would look to find a way so that it’s not based on a personality but on a mandate. For me it’s a bit scary when I hear people say that they are ‘needed’.
“We have a lot of people in FIFA who really want to make a difference but you have to identify the timeframe. If you tell someone: ‘Your mandate is for this period of time,’ then they have a deadline to work to.’
“There is so much more to be done. We need to talk much more about social development, development in general, grassroots, the fight against matchfixing and do so. There is a lot to do and money isn’t everything.”
Prince Ali regretted that many of the proposals from governance expert Mark Pieth were ignored. If returned to the exco he would push to revive elements of the the reform process.
He said: “The next four years will be crucial but I am very optimistic. FIFA has done a lot for football. Now it looks like Mr Blatter as president for the next term and during that time we will have to look down the line after that for some real candiates who should run on a mandate.
“I have have done that with Asia. I am very proud of that and I have tried my best to fulfil everything I promised.”
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