Prince Ali wants no delay to Fifa election

LONDON • Fifa presidential contender Prince Ali al Hussein demanded yesterday that the scandal-hit world football body maintain its election date to avoid creating "instability".

The Fifa executive is to meet next Tuesday following the suspension of its president Sepp Blatter and media reports say it could delay an election scheduled for Feb 26.

"With Fifa's crisis deepening, the organisation needs to move beyond interim leadership and elect an accountable president," said the 39-year-old Jordanian royal, a former Fifa vice-president.

DON'T SEND WRONG SIGNAL

Delaying the scheduled election would only postpone needed change and create further instability. It would tell the world that... the same backroom deals that have discredited Fifa in the first place continue.

PRINCE ALI AL HUSSEIN, Fifa presidential contender

"Delaying the scheduled election would only postpone needed change and create further instability. It would tell the world that lessons haven't been learnt, that the same backroom deals that have discredited Fifa in the first place continue," he added.

Fifa, facing major investigations by the US and Swiss authorities, was further rocked last week when its ethics watchdog suspended Blatter and Uefa leader Michel Platini.

Blatter is under criminal investigation in Switzerland while Platini was named in the inquiry over a two million Swiss francs (S$2.8 million) payment from Fifa.

"Recent events at Fifa have shown us that no one is above the law. The ethics committee must now be allowed to do its work in a robust and timely fashion," said the prince who left the executive committee in May when his challenge to Blatter's re-election failed.

"Members of the Fifa executive committee should remember that football associations, players, coaches and fans the world over are watching. The exco should not interfere with an ongoing process that was put in place by the ad-hoc electoral committee."

Platini's suspension means that he is not certain to be accepted as a candidate.

Another contender Chung Mong Joon, a South Korean tycoon and former Fifa vice-president, has been ruled out of the contest after he was banned for six years by the ethics committee last week.

Appeals have been made by Blatter, Platini and Chung against their suspensions or exclusions.

European football chiefs will be meeting today to decide whether to continue backing Platini or quietly drop the man who has been their president for eight years.

They could try to push for a postponement of the election, a move which could conceivably give Platini time to prove his innocence but which could also be interpreted as an attempt to move the goal posts.

Otherwise, they will be left with less than two weeks to find an alternative before the Oct 26 deadline when the candidates have to register officially.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2015, with the headline 'Prince Ali wants no delay to Fifa election'. Print Edition | Subscribe