Fifa presidential candidate Prince Ali bin al Hussein believes that he can save the scandal-hit organisation and that Africa will have a vital role to play in the future.
Prince Ali is one of six contenders looking to succeed Sepp Blatter as Fifa president in February’s election, with all candidates emphasisisng their commitment to reforming football’s governing body.
“Football is the most popular sport in the world. The reputation of the organisation is opposite. We can change this and the election (Feb 26) to come is crucial,” Prince Ali said in a visit to Senegal capital Dakar.
“We cannot have a secretive organisation. We have to be open in words and in deeds. People have to have faith in us,” added the 39-year-old, who was defeated by Blatter in May’s presidential election.
“My fear is if we do not get this right, there are a lot of people out there calling to change FIFA, to have a different organisation.
“But I believe the opposite – we must save it”.
Prince Ali, a Jordanian who does not command the support of the Asian confederation, has made a pitch for the 54 African votes, the biggest bloc among the 209 federations which comprise FIFA.
“Africa is crucial for what we want to do, to develop football. We need to develop infrastructure, the stadiums, the teams. The potential is absolutely incredible.
“The moment has come for Africa to play a leadership role. This coming election is critical.
“It’s time now for one of us from the developing nations to reach the presidency to make the changes we need.”
Prince Ali faces stiff competition if he is to succeed Blatter, who is currently serving a 90-day suspension from the sport.
The other candidates are Uefa president Michel Platini (like Blatter, currently serving a 90-day suspension), his right-hand man at Uefa, Gianni Infantino, Asian football chief Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa of Bahrain, Jerome Champagne, a former assistant general secretary of Fifa, and South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale.