Amman - FIFA vice-president Prince Ali bin Al Hussein on Tuesday threw down
the gauntlet to incumbent Sepp Blatter for the leadership of football's
scandal-tainted world governing body.
The 39-year-old Jordanian
prince said he would be a candidate against Blatter, 78, who will seek a
fifth term, when FIFA holds a presidential vote on May 29.
Ali, an ally of Blatter rival Michel Platini, the UEFA president, said
he had been encouraged by other FIFA members to stand.
guaranteed nearly all the 54 UEFA votes and must now aim to sway enough
FIFA members from his Asia region and other confederations against
Blatter to get 105 backers at the election.
The rivalry threatens to become bitter.
The prince said his campaign would be based on getting FIFA away from "controversy".
am seeking the presidency of FIFA because I believe it is time to shift
the focus away from administrative controversy and back to sport.
"The headlines should be about football, the beautiful sport, not about FIFA."
has been dogged by scandal since 2010 votes that awarded the 2018 World
Cup to Russia and 2022 event to Qatar. The prince, a FIFA vice
president for Asia since 2011, has been among leaders who want the full
release of an inquiry into the vote process.
"This was not an easy
decision. It came after careful consideration and many discussions with
respected FIFA colleagues over the last few months," Prince Ali said.
"The message I heard, over and over, was that it is time for a change.
world game deserves a world-class governing body - an International
Federation that is a service organisation and a model of ethics,
transparency and good governance."
Prince Ali, a son of the late
King Hussein of Jordan, was one of the most senior FIFA officials to
call for the full publication of lawyer Michael Garcia's report into the
2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.
FIFA's executive has voted to
release an "appropriate" edited version of the report and Blatter has
ruled out any suggestion that Qatar could lose the right to host the
UEFA's Platini and European federations have led
calls for Blatter to keep an earlier promise to stand down when his
fourth term ends.
But the 78-year-old Swiss official says he has a "mission" to finish.
has long been a controversial figure, and FIFA, which oversees a
multi-billion dollar industry, has never been far from scandal.
Ali is FIFA vice president for Asia, head of Jordan's Football
Association and founder of the West Asian Football Federation.
prince will need five of FIFA's 209 member federations to nominate him
before a January 29 deadline. But UEFA's backing should make this a
He will step up lobbying for Asian support at a special Asian Football Confederation congress in Melbourne, Australia on Friday.
Ali is in a battle for influence with AFC head Bahrain's Sheik Salman
bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, who has publicly supported Blatter's campaign
for a new term.
Africa's 54 members have pledged their support for Blatter.
and Asia account for about 100 members of FIFA, meaning that the prince
and Blatter will be fiercely lobbying North and South American nations
"FIFA exists to serve a sport which unites billions of
people from all over the world, people of differing and divergent
political, religious and social affiliations, who come together in their
enjoyment of 'the world's game'," the prince said.
The only other declared candidate in the race is Jerome Champagne, a French former FIFA official and diplomat.
He said the election should not be "about personal ambitions or fights between institutions.
"It is about football, its governance but also its future with a clear choice.
said there could be "continued inner rivalries and image problems for
FIFA and football. Or reconciliation, inclusion and re-building of the
The FIFA leader made no immediate comment on the
candidacy of Prince Ali, a major general in Jordan's armed forces who
was educated in the United States and Britain.