Prince Ali predicts FIFA 'catastrophe' if he fails to win presidential election
By Kaveh Solhekol
Last Updated: 05/01/16 11:30pm
The man who failed to beat Sepp Blatter in last year's FIFA presidential election says he is the only candidate who can clean up world football's governing body.
Prince Ali of Jordan is one of five men bidding to become the new president of FIFA. He believes it would be "a catastrophe" if he does not win the election in Zurich.
"This election in February is the last chance to get it right," Prince Ali said. "Having talked to national associations across the world they do recognise that this is an incredibly important moment in the future of the organisation."
Prince Ali was the only candidate who stood against Blatter in last May's presidential election. He conceded defeat after Blatter beat him by 133 to 73 in the first round of voting. Last year he was able to count on the support of the majority of UEFA's 53 votes, but with Gianni Infantino, the UEFA general secretary, running this time that is highly unlikely to happen again.
Prince Ali is in London this week and he is planning on meeting representatives from all the home nations. England backed him last time, but it is significant that he cannot even count on the backing of his own Asian Football Confederation. The vast majority of their 46 votes are likely to go to the AFC president Sheikh Salman of Bahrain.
"I am seeking the support of the FA as well as the home nations," Prince Ali said. "I think that's critical. There is a moral aspect to English football and the positions they have taken in the past. I really would be keen on getting their support.
"The important thing is what England stands for right now. I think that in the past sometimes there was a feeling what England says - or at least that's what was portrayed by others - that is somehow bullying. And that's not the case at all. People around the world respect England and English football in particular. They are fans of the Premier League."
2015 was the worst year in FIFA's history and the cause of the meltdown can be traced to the disputed 2010 vote to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Prince Ali believes that Qatar will prove critics wrong by hosting a successful world cup, but he wants to introduce tough new rules for future bissing processes.
"We don't want to make the same mistakes we had in the past," he said. "I don't think it is correct for example for executive committee members to travel to [bidding] nations.
"We have to have a total review of how things are conducted and I will be looking at the model the IOC (International Olympic Committee) has. It has to be decided based on evaluations of bids based on recommendations of professionals and that's the way to remove problems we have had in the past."
Michel Platini still has a slim chance of being allowed to run for the FIFA presidency but Prince Ali believes that the UEFA president was "totally irresponsible" for accepting a £1.3 million payment from Sepp Blatter in 2011. Platini and Blatter are appealing after they were banned from football for eight years by the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's ethics committee.
"Everything has to be on the books," Prince Ali said. "In this day and age to have an oral agreement is totally irresponsible.
"Regardless of what happened, the main issue is how business is conducted and it has to be open and it has to be accountable - including the full disclosure of the salary of the president and the executive committee."
Prince Ali is the brother of the King Abdullah of Jordan. He has been president of the Jordan Football Association since 1999.
Although Prince Ali is the bookmakers' favourite to win in February, most FIFA watchers believe that Sheikh Salman of Bahrain is the frontrunner. The other three candidates are Infantino, Tokyo Sexwale and Jerome Champagne.