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Battle royale Blatter gets competition for FIFA presidency vote

Ali (left) with Blatter in Jordan last year

(Keystone)

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan has declared his candidacy for the FIFA presidential election slated for May 29 in Zurich. Ali, currently FIFA’s vice president, is challenging current President Sepp Blatter, who will stand for his fifth consecutive term.

“The message I heard, over and over, was that it is time for a change,” said Ali in a statement on Tuesday. “The world’s game deserves a world-class governing body – an international federation that is a service organisation and a model of ethics, transparency and good governance.”

FIFA, world football’s governing body, has come under great criticism for awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids to Russia and Qatar respectively and for its subsequent handling of the investigation into the bidding process.

The 39-year-old Ali is 40 years younger than his rival Blatter and was encouraged to run for the FIFA presidency by Michel Platini, president of European football governing body UEFA.

Prince Ali has led Jordan’s football federation since 1999, and founded the West Asian Football Federation the following year.

At FIFA, he led the successful campaign to lift a ban on female Islamic players wearing headscarves in its competitions.

Besides Blatter, Ali might have to battle Jerome Champagne of France, a former FIFA executive and Blatter ally.

FIFA election rules in the first-round ballot require two-thirds of the votes of present and eligible member federations for victory. A simple majority of valid votes is needed in subsequent rounds.

Prince Ali did not specify which five of FIFA’s 209 members will nominate him for the presidency, as required before a January 29 deadline.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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