English Football Association to endorse Prince Ali’s bid for Fifa president

Jordanian faces uphill task to depose Sepp Blatter

Jordanian Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein, FIFA vice-president, could lose his seat on the executive committee in a reorganisation by the Asian Football Confederation. Photograph: Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty

Jordanian Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein, FIFA vice-president, could lose his seat on the executive committee in a reorganisation by the Asian Football Confederation. Photograph: Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty

 

The English Football Association is set to back the nomination of Jordan’s Prince Ali in his battle with Sepp Blatter for the Fifa presidency.

Prince Ali, who is a Fifa vice-president but could lose his seat on the executive committee in a reorganisation by the Asian Football Confederation, announced his candidacy this month.

This week the Dutch FA president, Michael van Praag, an outspoken Blatter critic, said he would also stand for the presidency. Van Praag was one of the Uefa delegates who loudly criticised Blatter before the Fifa congress in São Paulo last year.

Van Praag has secured the requisite five nominations and the English FA’s backing of Ali is designed to help the Jordanian clear that threshold too. The FA has nominated Ali now but it does not mean it will be beholden to vote for him at the election in May.

The FA is understood to share the view of Uefa’s president, Michel Platini, that it will be better for the standard of debate if as many anti-Blatter candidates run in the election as possible and is set to ratify its decision to back Ali at Thursday’s FA board meeting.

Platini, who decided against standing, has made it clear he believes Blatter should step down as he previously promised to do.

Jérôme Champagne, the former Fifa executive who has been campaigning for months, is still battling to get the five required nominations. So too is David Ginola, the former France international standing as part of a publicity stunt by a bookmaker.

The 39-year-old Ali has been vocal in his calls for Fifa to become more open and transparent but faces an uphill battle to depose the 78-year-old Blatter.

“It is time to shift the focus away from administrative controversy and back to sport,” said Ali on announcing his candidature.

“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.”

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