Zurich - FIFA contender Prince Ali bin al
Hussein said the international sports tribunal should delay the world football
leadership election on Friday if it cannot be guaranteed to be "free, fair
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
said it would rule by Thursday, the eve of the vote, whether to order FIFA to
change the organisation of the vote.
The prince has been joined by Jerome
Champagne, another of the five contenders to replace Sepp Blatter, in demanding
greater guarantees over the integrity of the increasingly tense election.
Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa and
Gianni Infantino are favourites in the race to become the next leader of the
scandal-tainted world governing body. Tokyo Sexwale of South Africa is the
Friday's vote is meant to be secret. But
Prince Ali and Champagne have both raised suspicions that FIFA delegates - under pressure from some regional confederations who have publicly backed
specific candidates - will take photos of their voting paper to prove who they
FIFA's electoral committee said portable
phones and cameras would be banned from the booths, but it had rejected the
prince's initial demand for transparent booths.
CAS has called on FIFA to explain its
rejection of the prince's requests. Prince Ali has also demanded that
independent scrutinizers are used for the vote.
The Lausanne-based tribunal said the prince
has asked for "urgent provisional measures" but did not say whether a
vote suspension could be ordered.
After Prince Ali's lawyers said he wants
CAS to delay the election if transparent booths are not used, the candidate
sent a letter himself to voters to clarify his position.
"The FIFA presidential election should
go ahead as planned but only if it is free, fair and honest," he said.
Prince Ali described FIFA's plan to tell
delegates to leave their phones outside as "unenforceable and without
"I want this election to occur as soon
as possible, but not at the risk of undermining its integrity," he added.
Prince Ali said he had written to the FIFA
Electoral Committee on February 11 to express his concerns that pressure would
be put on delegates.
He said he offered to provide transparent
booths as a solution to that problem but that FIFA rejected his idea.
"On February 22nd, I appealed to CAS
and requested an expedited hearing to resolve the matter before Friday's
election. FIFA blocked an expedited hearing," said Prince Ali.
With FIFA in desperate need of a clean
start and reforms to improve its tainted image, the complaints have again cast
a new shadow over the election campaign.
Champagne, a former FIFA official from
France, has separately demanded that the world body cancel accreditations for
the Asian Football Confederation and UEFA, saying they will be used to lobby
for Sheikh Salman and Infantino.
He has indicated he could also go to CAS if
FIFA's electoral commission rejected his request.
But electoral commission chairman Domenico
Scala wrote to Champagne saying "FIFA has acted in absolute compliance
with the pertinent circumstances" for the election.
Scala added that the observer numbers do
"not constitute any violation of the principle of equal treatment of the
FIFA presidential candidates".
Champagne accused Sheikh Salman, the AFC president,
and Infantino, UEFA general secretary, of seeking to "swamp" Friday's
vote with supporters.
He added that those accredited were mainly
members of Sheikh Salman and Infantino's campaign teams.
"It is clear that this reveals the
objective to swamp the Congress hall with confederation employees able to
access the voting FAs and their delegates."
Champagne called on the electoral committee
to cancel "these unfair and undue privileges" and warned of other
action if there was no response by Tuesday.
FIFA has 209 member associations but only
207 are eligible to vote for a new leader.
Kuwait and Indonesia are suspended from the
decision on who should lead the organisation as it seeks to recover from multiple
scandals that have seen 39 football officials and business executives charged
with corruption by US authorities. Two companies also face charges.
Swiss prosecutors are, in parallel,
investigating FIFA's management and the attribution of the 2018 and 2022 World
Cups to Russia and Qatar.
After Blatter announced he was standing
down, UEFA leader Michel Platini had been favourite to take over.
But Blatter and Platini were suspended for
eight years by FIFA over a $2 million payment that Blatter approved for the
French football legend. That stunning move threw the election race wide open
between Sheikh Salman and Infantino.