SYDNEY (Reuters) – FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali bin Al Hussein had no intention of running for soccer’s top job but felt compelled to stand by fellow officials keen for change at the world governing body.
The 39-year-old Jordanian royal announced his candidacy earlier this month and told Australia’s SBS that it was his love of the sport that will lead to him standing against incumbent Sepp Blatter, seeking a fifth term in office, and Frenchman Jerome Champagne in the May election.
“It’s not ideally something that I wanted to do, but I got a lot of encouragement from many people around the world who really care about the sport, not just from officials but also from players,” Ali said on Friday.
“And so after a lot of thinking and so on I decided, ‘OK, let’s go. Let’s do it’. It’s not something that I want to do for a long time but I really think it’s a duty to all football lovers around the world to bring this organisation back.”
The FIFA vice-president and head of the Jordanian and West Asian football Federations, who has the support of UEFA President Michel Platini, did not reveal any specific election pledges but stressed the need for greater transparency.
He again called for Michael Garcia’s report into the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights to be made public and hoped it would be done so before the election date.
“We made a big deal out of having this investigation in the first place but you cannot do that and then shut the door,” he said.
“Again, with Mark Pieth, for example, we brought him in to look at how to reform the organisation (in 2011). He made these recommendations and they were not implemented and I think that’s extremely wrong. Why would we do that in the first place?”
The British and American educated Prince, who acknowledged the support of his wife and two young children in standing, said he thought FIFA’s recovery after a scandal-hit period where several members had been punished for corruption would be far swifter under his guidance.
“I think that change is inevitable but I’m here to work for a positive change and to really get back to the basics and to use FIFA in a positive way.
“If I’m elected I’m going to have a real program where we really roll our sleeves up — a 10-year program for the organisation where everybody is a part of it and ourselves, as the executive, we’re there to implement that program.
“I’m looking for an outcome where everybody can have confidence, from our players to our fans and all the way to sponsors and we deserve it. All football fans across the world deserve that as well.”