Prince Ali Formally Submits Candidature for FIFA Presidency

  • VOA News

    October 16, 2015 08:04

    Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan has announced his candidacy for the upcoming FIFA presidential election, vying to become the head of the embattled global governing body for football.

    Prince Ali, a former FIFA vice president, made his announcement Thursday, saying he is confident that the organization can emerge from its corruption scandal -- the prince called it a "difficult period" -- with its reputation restored. He said FIFA needs the right leadership to help it regain credibility.

    He said he has the backing of five member associations, which is required to run, but he declined to specify which ones they were.

    Prince Ali stood as a challenger in the May leadership election to then-incumbent Sepp Blatter, but withdrew after the first round. Blatter stepped down four days later over the corruption scandal that erupted earlier this year. Several other possible contenders for the top slot are dealing with corruption allegations that have resulted in suspensions.

    Jordan's Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, flanked by school-age soccer players in uniforms, speaks during an event at a Roman amphitheater in Amman, Jordan on Sept. 9, 2015. /AP

    Michel Platini, head of the Union of European Football Associations, was suspended for 90 days last week over allegations he accepted a $2 million payment from Blatter in 2011. Platini is appealing his suspension in hopes of running for the FIFA presidency, but cannot register his candidacy while suspended.

    Oct. 26 is the deadline to register. The election is set for Feb. 26.

    The FIFA ethics committee handed suspensions to Blatter and Platini last Thursday, less than two weeks after Swiss prosecutors opened a criminal investigation against Blatter over the alleged $2 million payment.

    Issa Hayatou, longtime head of the Confederation of African Football, has taken over as acting president.

    The ethics committee also handed down a 90-day suspension to FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke, and banned former vice president Chung Mong-joon for six years and imposed a $100,000 fine. Valcke was already on leave from FIFA over a separate allegation involving a ticket-selling scheme during the 2014 World Cup.

    FIFA has been embroiled in scandal after 14 FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich in May and charged in the United States with nearly 50 counts of corruption, including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.

    Swiss officials have also opened a separate criminal investigation involving FIFA's selection of Russia and Qatar to host the World Cup tournaments in 2018 and 2022 respectively.

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