Fifa Presidential hopeful Prince Ali Hussein says that football’s governing body only has “one chance” to turn istelf around.
Prince Ali stood unsuccessfully against Sepp Blatter last May, and is one of five candidates in contention for the position, which became vacant when Blatter resigned shortly after the election. The election to find his successor will be held at Fifa’s extraordinary congress in Switzerland next month.
The 40-year-old was campaigning in Auckland when asked about the current state of Fifa.
“Fifa is in a critical situation right now and we need to fix that,” said the Jordanian. “We have one chance coming in February. I believe we have wasted a year and we need to get it right. Fifa’s reputation has suffered dramatically and that has affected everything. There is a real desire to get things back on track.
“We need to reverse the pyramid, put the priorities of our players and fans on top and turn Fifa into a service organisation.”
Prince Ali was in the country to meet with New Zealand Football (NZF) board members, as NZF publicly backed the Jordanian in May.
“I was very honoured to have the support of New Zealand the last time around,” said Hussein. “It is very important to be here, to have talked to members of your board.”
Perhaps mindful of his audience, Prince Ali also indicated that Oceania should get direct entry into the World Cup, instead of the current play-off against another confederation.
“I’m totally against the idea of a half slot,” he said. “It’s a real challenge not just for Oceania but also for Asia, Conmebol and Concacaf as well.”
While he supports the idea of an enlarged tournament, Prince Ali said that the subject was not a key election issue.
“We have to look [at] how things are conducted within Fifa in terms of how decisions are made,” he added.”[There is] room for enlarging the World Cup but that subject should not be brought up by a reform committee or during a Fifa presidential campaign.”
He also reiterated his criticism of a deal between the Asian and African confederations that he sees as creating a voting bloc for one of his rivals, Sheikh Salman.
“I can tell you from my side that I’m fully confident I will win this if things are conducted properly,” he said.
“I think around the (footballing) world that a weight has been taken off people’s shoulders, they want to be proud of being part of this organisation again.
“Without going into specifics, I’m building on what I had the last time around.”