With several FIFA officials charged with corruption just two days before the presidential election, HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan has called for an end to FIFA’s ongoing crisis.
“We cannot continue with the crisis in FIFA, a crisis that has been ongoing and is not just relevant to the events of today,” he said in a statement to the press.
“FIFA needs leadership that governs, guides and protects our national associations. Leadership that accepts responsibility for its actions and does not pass blame. Leadership that restores confidence in the hundreds of millions of football fans around the world.”
After a raid at Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich on Wednesday morning, ten FIFA Executive Committee members will be questioned by Swiss authorities “on suspicion of the acceptance of bribes and kick-backs” in relation to 2018/22 World Cup bids. The arrests were instigated by US Department of Justice.
Prince Ali is the only challenger to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who was widely predicted to be reelected on Friday. FIFA has faced calls from the English Football Association and Transparency International to postpone the election.
Sepp Blatter has not been charged. FIFA spokesman Walter de Gregorio told press that Blatter was “relaxed” about the day’s events because he was “not involved in them at all”, going on to explain: “Well he is not dancing in his office. He is very calm; he is fully co-operative with everything. That’s what I meant. He’s not a happy man, saying ‘wow wow’.”
De Gregorio also said the presidential election would go on ahead on Friday as planned and that a revote on the 2018 and 2012 World Cup hosts was out of the question.
“This for FIFA is good. It is not good in terms of image or reputation, but in terms of cleaning up, this is good,” he said.
“It is not a nice day, but it is also a good day. The process goes on and we are looking forward.”