ZURICH: Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, the single rival candidate to Sepp Blatter for the presidency of FIFA, told congress in his formal candidacy address:
It is an incredible honour to stand before you today as a FIFA presidential candidate.
The eyes of the world are upon us, and not for the first time. But this time, everything is at stake.
“For the Game, For the World” – these are the words that encapsulate what FIFA is about. But FIFA is more than that. It is clearer than ever that FIFA is not just an international governing body of sport. And we do not just serve our players, our members and our organisation.
We are guardians of a Game that is not simply for the world, it is a game that is loved and cherished by the world. A game that is celebrated and a game that has the power to unite and to heal.
That brings joy and tears – and that is about men and women who give their all and then more still… To inspire and guide the young. To entertain through suspense and endeavor. And to give pride to nations and regions.
The world that is watching is not a stakeholder that is somehow separate from our Game – FIFA does not exist in a bubble; the world that is watching is part of us, and we are part of it.
There could not be a more defining moment in time for our governing body than this one, and I humbly wish to convey on behalf of all of us a message to those who watch us now.
We, the family of FIFA, recognise the responsibility that we carry for the game that is dear to the world. And we cherish the honor of the trust you invested in us and understand the fragility of that trust.
We have heard in recent days, voices which described our FIFA as an avaricious body which feeds on the game that the world loves. We have heard questions raised about whether our family is morally bankrupt. And we have heard countless individuals ponder how on earth it could have gotten so bad.
There are no easy answers. And no blame that can be cast that will wash away the stain that marks us all.
And yet, nothing in life can exist without hope. And even the darkest nights are broken by a new dawn.
Change is not an event. It is a process. It is not about empowering wrong doing and then demanding to root it out. Our path – and our way to the future – must be lit by the creation of a culture that empowers transparency, inclusivity and accountability.
Our rehabilitation in public perception will only come through the actions and work of all of us, together, pulling in the same direction, for the good of the sport, and for FIFA.
It took many people to build our great sport; many of whom were legends now passed from our midst, and some whom are still among us. It took the hard work and passion from people from all walks of life, all over the world. And it was not one man who destroyed our image, and certainly it will not be one alone who can restore it.
Today is about taking the first step towards the process of change. It is about giving the new dawn a chance to break through the darkness.
We must show the world that the FIFA family celebrates, loves, and is committed to our sport and our great game – just as the world is.
Today is about honouring the trust invested in each and every one of us, and proving that we can work together to be worthy of the offices we have earned and hold dear.
We stand here today at a crossroads for football, and it will take a committed leader to fix this mess that we are in. I will be proud to shoulder the responsibility for fixing our governing body, protecting our players, our game and our fans, and drawing on our collective energy, and collective commitment, to deliver a FIFA that we can all be proud of.
No hiding place
While we will do this together, I give you my pledge: I will not hide among your ranks when things are bad, stepping forward when things are good. If you give me the honour of your vote, I will take full responsibility and hold myself accountable to all of you, and to the world.
I will bring a work ethic worthy of the game to FIFA and I will reverse the pyramid and put the priorities of players, fans and Member Associations at the top. FIFA is not a company, it is a service organization.
That is our duty and your right. You are not the recipients, you are the owners of the game.
I promise to be fair and to protect this organization.
I commit to being democratic, transparent, open and accessible.
I pledge to come to you and walk with you on your pitches, and sit in your offices, and to listen and learn from the challenges that you face.
Just as I promise to throw open the door of FIFA house, not only to welcome you, but also in clear recognition that it is YOUR house, and that this is your FIFA.
I promise to uphold our statutes, and not to act unilaterally.
I will rebuild our home, through actions, not words, by institutionalizing corporate governance and decision making. By making our finances accountable. By enhancing communication with our Confederations, and by improving the clarity and transparency of our communications with the outside world.
I swear to live by and embody our values, the world’s values, to fight racism and discrimination in all their forms, and to uphold human rights.
I will work tirelessly to deliver on my promises, to earn your respect, and to restore the world’s respect for the governing body we represent.
I give you my word that I will honor the game, that I will facilitate for all possible technical progress without interference.
I pledge to serve each and every Confederation equally, celebrating the incredible qualities of each and every Member individually. I will facilitate the sharing of those qualities and paths, creating a real family, and opportunities for collaboration and progress to come from within.
I will deliver a FIFA Development Programme which is transparent, fair, generous and flexible – which gives tailored support where it is most needed, and ensures that all of our Member Associations, all over the world, have what they need to play the game.
I know what it means to be President of a Football Association: improvements to FIFA’s Development Programme will allow you to walk with pride through the streets of each village in your country. All the capacities and competencies of FIFA will serve you and help your dreams become reality.
I promise to remember at all times that I am here first and foremost to serve and protect you, and embody the values and ethics that bind us, and that the world expects.
Friends and colleagues, I know that FIFA is not about just one man.
And I will never lead it unilaterally. It matters deeply that I state plainly to you, what I am and what I promise to be.
These last few months have not simply been a road to this election for me. It has been an incredible journey that we have all shared, together, both with those inside our membership and with the world that has contributed a great deal to this debate.
I want to express my gratitude to my fellow Presidential candidates, President Van Praag, and Luis Figo, for the extraordinary role they have played and ideas they have brought to the table during this election process. These are ideas that have come from their experiences which have brought much to enrich our sport and our future.
But most of all, I want to thank you, our Member Associations, who contributed so generously your own ideas to this process.
Friends and colleagues, if you give me the honor of your backing, we can win the right to a new beginning. Today is about all of us. This is a historic day for FIFA, and I want you to know that I am proud to be one of you, an FA President, even more so to be one from a developing FA.
And, as I look out at all of you here today, I see the faces of individuals who, together, can offer the promise of a bright future for FIFA.
The world expects us to stand up and fight. For FIFA. For our game. And for each other. We cannot give up on our governing body, or ignore the clamor outside our doors. We must pull together and speak with one voice to change our FIFA for the better.
Now is the time to show the world, and each other, that we, the Member Associations who are FIFA, are hungry for the world’s respect. We want a governing body that is worthy of the world’s game.
I ask you for the honor of your confidence in me, but I also call on you to join me. Because I know that, hand-in-hand, we can deliver a new beginning for FIFA.
I will fight to honor every promise I have made.
I ask of you, please, do not fight for me by giving me your vote, fight alongside me for our collective future, for the soul of our game and for a new dawn for FIFA.
To the 209 voting delegates in this room today, you are the individuals who hold the responsibility of changing the way the story of FIFA unfolds. You carry the hopes and dreams of the billions of people around the world who love football. You hold the future of FIFA in your hands. I humbly ask for your vote, and as you cast your ballot today, I ask you to listen to your hearts.