Tuesday,14 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1268, (29 October - 4 November 2015)
Tuesday,14 August, 2018
Issue 1268, (29 October - 4 November 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Royal run

FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali of Jordan told the Egyptian media he was optimistic in his quest to win February’s elections, Inas Mazhar listened in

Al-Ahram Weekly

Jordanian Prince Ali, the current FIFA vice-president, visited Cairo this week to meet the Executive Committee members of the African Football Confederation (CAF) as part of his campaign in the FIFA elections for president.

For the second time this year, the prince, who is also president of the Royal Jordanian Federation, met with the local media in Egypt to speak about his vision and goals for the future of world football.

“I have decided to run for the elections again because I am still determined to save FIFA’s administration, image and reputation while working on developing the beautiful game,” Prince Ali told Al-Ahram Weekly.

“I came here to meet with CAF because I believe Africa has a great role in the future. I haven’t met with them yet but will tomorrow (Tuesday). I would like to talk with them again and listen to their thoughts. I work for all confederations, not only Africa, but I said before there are lots of potentials in Africa and its future is promising. Let’s not forget that Egypt is the gateway between us in Asia and Africa. We are looking forward to CAF support,” he added.

The prince told the Weekly that he was not worried about how people will deal with him at FIFA; whether they would work with or against him. “My goal is the future and I believe that we have nothing to do with whatever happened in the past. However, our role is to work on fixing it and this needs new working systems in administration and development.

“I don’t say it is going to be easy, but we have to open up to the world if we want to fight corruption and clear FIFA’s reputation. Nothing will change overnight. We can’t say or promise that; it takes time. I work with my conscience and love for football. At one point, I was the one who stood up to corruption and for how things were tackled. This is my duty, not a demand or a political game,” Prince Ali told the Weekly.

“We will open up to everyone in relation to football, just as we did in the Royal Jordanian Federation when I took over in 1999 and took on developing the federation both inside and out. We opened up to clubs, players, fans and even the media. We opened all doors and windows for them to join us and we said, ‘come on, join us and contribute to our future’ and it worked. Everyone was willing because football is the most popular sport in the world.”

Prince Ali looked optimistic at the meeting with the media and did not appear to be worried by the other candidates who joined the race on Monday, the deadline for submitting candidacies. Other candidates include UEFA’s General Secretary Gianni Infantino and Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa.

“This is democracy, isn’t it? And it seems that there are some people who are also interested in saving and developing FIFA. I am still optimistic and I have no new strategy different than the one I used in the previous elections. My manifesto, vision and goals are still the same: saving and protecting FIFA’s image and reputation and developing world football.

“Football should not be based on who is the FIFA president but on who can gather the football family around for a better future. We should give everyone the umbrella and hope to play their beautiful game in a safe and clean environment.”

The 39-year-old prince was the only candidate who stood against incumbent FIFA President Joseph Blatter at the FIFA elections in May in Zurich. Prince Ali collected 70 votes in the first round but withdrew in the second round, allowing Blatter to retain his seat for a fifth term. But two days later, Blatter suddenly announced he was laying down his mandate –- essentially resigning -- which had been left in tatters following a much-publicised spate of corruption charges, which began in May when seven top officials were arrested in Zurich.

Blatter was then suspended for 90 days by a FIFA ethics committee.

It is not known whether Blatter will attend an extraordinary Congress to be held on 26 February meant to hold new elections for a president.

Meanwhile, FIFA Vice-President and CAF President Eissa Hayatou is the interim president, being the oldest member of the Executive Committee.

Sheikh Salman and Infantino have broken the race to succeed Blatter wide open. Eight candidates have confirmed they are running, including heavyweight Tokyo Sexwale, the 62-year-old South African, and UEFA President Michel Platini, who officially remains a contender pending a probe of his candidacy. His own 90-day ban ends on 5 January. Platini’s lawyers confirmed he had his first appeal against his 90-day suspension rejected on Monday but the case is still to go before FIFA’s appeals committee.

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