LONDON (Reuters) – Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan said it was time for the “culture of intimidation” in FIFA to end when he launched his campaign on Tuesday for the presidency of world soccer’s ruling body.
He also called for a public debate among the four candidates in the race including incumbent Sepp Blatter “to set out our positions and for people to know exactly where we stand.”
Prince Ali, 39, FIFA’s Asian vice-president for the last four years and a member of the ruling body’s executive committee, said he “could not sit through” another four years in the current circumstances.
“There has been a culture of intimidation within FIFA,” he told a news conference.
“In the past people have taken a principled stand and they have ended up being punished for it. I hope things are played fairly and in the right way now.
“Obviously, the incumbent has a natural advantage but I want to assure the national associations we are moving in the right direction.”
As well as Prince Ali and Blatter, the other contenders are former Portugal international Luis Figo and Michael van Praag, the president of the Dutch FA.
Prince Ali said the countries who had nominated him were his own Jordan, England, Malta, Georgia, Belarus and the United States, adding that the fact that his own Asian confederation was not fully behind his campaign was not a hindrance at this stage.
“This is about the whole world, it is not just about one confederation,” said the Prince who has campaigned for reform since being elected in 2011. However, he is facing a complication over the next few months.
Due to changes in the Asian confederation, he will lose his seat on the FIFA executive committee following the Asian congress on April 30 when he will be replaced by Sheikh Salman of Bahrain.
He confirmed that he would not contest an “ordinary” Asian seat on the FIFA executive committee at the Asian Congress which means he faces a “win or bust” situation.
If he does not win the presidential vote at the FIFA Congress in Zurich on May 29 he will not be on the executive committee at all after that date when decisions taken at the various confederation congresses come into force.
“My total commitment is to run for the presidency of FIFA. I am not going to sit through another four years of what’s been going on and I think the way to change it is to go for the top,” he said.