MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali bin Al Hussein says FIFA will be a more transparent and progressive governing body if he is successful in defeating incumbent chief Sepp Blatter in an upcoming election.
Prince Ali, 39, announced his presidential plans this week and vowed sweeping reforms to clean up an administration that he feels has become bogged down by bribery allegations and scandals in the awarding of World Cup tournaments.
“FIFA as an organisation tends to be a bit secretive,” the Jordanian prince said in Melbourne on Saturday where he’s attending Asian Football Confederation meetings running alongside the Asian Cup football tournament.
“But it’s the most popular sport in the world – we should be confident and happy to be open and engaged with everyone. We have to bring the administration of the sport into the current time that we live in. Change is inevitable and I’m here to work for a positive change.”
Blatter, 78, is seeking a fifth term in the job he assumed 17 years ago. The election will be held in Zurich on May 29.
Prince Ali’s decision to run against Blatter came as a surprise to his own confederation president, Sheik Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, with the Asian football chief saying he would support Blatter.
Prince Ali, head of the Jordanian National Football Association, conceded he has a huge task ahead of him to win the support of the majority of the national federations around the globe, but he pledged to spend the coming months building consensus in the football world.
“I’m not worrying about numbers at the moment,” he said. “We have a few months to go before the actual election, but I have total faith that they are decent people who will vote for what they view as the future of football.”
Prince Ali, who is also currently a FIFA vice-president, renewed his call for FIFA to publish former prosecutor Michael Garcia’s full report into corruption allegations surrounding the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, but stopped short of promising to re-open the controversial bidding processes should he be elected president.
“I believe we should be totally transparent in that respect,” he said. “I would hope this would happen before I’m elected to be honest.
“My position is that the world needs to know. We made a big deal out of having this investigation in the first place. We can’t do that and then shut the door.”