Jordan’s Prince Ali vows to rid FIFA of corruption
AMMAN - Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al- Hussein pledged to lift the cloud of corruption scandals hanging over FIFA, which he said had shaken football’s world governing body “to its very core” and “decimated our governing body”.
Though he did not mention FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Prince Ali’s remarks came hard on the heels of Swiss investigators announcing that Blatter was the subject of a criminal investigation into corruption in the world’s biggest sport. Swiss investigators have questioned Blatter on suspicion of “criminal mismanagement” pertaining to an alleged $2 million payment in 2011 to European football’s UEFA President Michel Platini for work at least nine years earlier.
Both Blatter and Platini have denied any wrongdoing and the FIFA president has insisted he will stay on in the post he has held since 1998 until elections in February 2016.
Ali, a former FIFA vice-president, challenged Blatter in an election in May after previous FIFA corruption reports. Blatter won a fifth term in the vote but, due to an investigation, announced four days later that he would step down after a new FIFA election in late February 2016.
Ali, Platini and South Korean tycoon Chung Mong-joon, also a former FIFA vice-president, are the leading candidates to succeed Blatter.
“Change, as I have always said, is a process. It’s not an event,” said Ali, the younger half-brother of Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
“We have an opportunity in February to carry that momentum forward,” the prince said. “We must now come together and work to restore FIFA’s credibility and reputation by bringing about the change that is so clearly needed.”
Ali said with the developments at the world’s football organisation, the “need for new leadership that can restore the credibility of FIFA has never been more apparent”.
“We cannot change the past but we can have a future where FIFA member associations are able to focus on football rather than worrying about the next scandal or criminal investigation involving FIFA leadership,” Ali said in a statement.
“I have heard from many member associations over the last 24 hours, and what I have heard gives me confidence that, working together, we can emerge from this stronger.”