Platini, Prince Ali meet for talks

2015-07-23 10:36
Michel Platini (AFP)

Geneva - Potential FIFA presidential election rivals Michel Platini and Prince Ali bin al-Hussein met for the first time on Wednesday since Sepp Blatter announced his exit.

Spokespersons for both men declined to comment on details of the talks held in the south of France, where Platini has a vacation home.

Prince Ali was publicly supported by UEFA President Platini before losing a 133-73 vote to Blatter in May. Four days later, under pressure from American and Swiss corruption investigations, Blatter said he would leave within months.

Neither possible contender has yet declared his intentions for the FIFA ballot on Feb. 26. Would-be candidates must apply by an Oct. 26 deadline.

Still, there is already one clear policy difference between the former FIFA vice presidential colleagues.

Later Wednesday, Prince Ali opposed Platini's view on FIFA reform plans.

Platini said Monday that an in-house task force announced by Blatter was an important step and should act "in a swift and effective manner."

The Jordanian prince takes a longer term view of an 11-member panel which was told to report to the next FIFA executive committee meeting on September 24-25 in Zurich.

"How can this task force address change in any meaningful way within such a short timeline?" Prince Ali said in a statement.

"It is the role of the new President to put in place the necessary systems to implement the changes that FIFA so desperately needs, not a Task Force trying to rush this through in less than 60 days," the prince said.

Platini will also have a role, along with Blatter and FIFA's five other continental presidents, in selecting the task force chairman, who will be joined by 10 football officials.

FIFA said the chairman should be "neutral" rather than the fully independent "eminent" leader suggested by World Cup sponsor Coca-Cola and former FIFA advisers Transparency International, which are supported by Prince Ali.

FIFA's definition suggests the job will go to Domenico Scala, the current audit and compliance committee chairman, who endorsed Blatter's reform project in their speeches on June 2.

Scala, a Swiss industrialist who has monitored FIFA's finances since 2012, declined comment on Wednesday.

"Having a neutral chairman is not enough to guarantee the independence of this task force," Prince Ali said. "Independent oversight is what is required right now to restore confidence in FIFA. Window dressing isn't enough."

Proposed reforms include term limits for top officials, publishing their pay and stricter vetting of their integrity, and limiting terms.

Changes must be voted in by FIFA's 209 member federations on the day they elect their new president.

Read more on:    fifa  |  michel platini  |  soccer

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