Posted: 08 Jan 2015 03:04 AM PST
An Arab contender has announced his intention to run against longtime FIFA President Sepp Blatter, but it appears he won’t have much support from the Gulf.
In several tweets on Tuesday, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan, a FIFA vice-president, said that he was running for the top spot to bring about change:
I am seeking the presidency of FIFA because I believe it is time to shift the focus away from administrative controversy and back to sport.
The world’s game deserves a world-class governing body — a service organisation and a model of ethics, transparency and good governance.
The headlines should be about football, the beautiful sport, not about FIFA.
Though Prince Ali has the support of many football organizations in Europe who are fed up with FIFA’s leadership, officials in Qatar and the rest of the GCC have said they will remain loyal to Blatter.
In an interview in Brazil yesterday, QFA President Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani said there was a consensus among the Asian confederation to support the 78-year-old Swiss official.
“I want to stress the strong relationship with Prince Ali, but reiterate that there is a question mark over nominating (him). We as QFA and through the AFC, emphasize our support for Blatter’s continuity,” Al Thani said, according to a transcript of the interview on QFA’s Facebook page.
Also yesterday, influential Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah threw his support behind Blatter. Media reports quoted the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) president as saying of the 39-year-old Prince Ali:
“If he takes my advice, I think it is too early for him. I was speaking for Kuwait. We will support Blatter very strongly and we will not allow anyone to challenge him.”
Keeping the World Cup
Speaking to Doha News, MidEast Soccer’s James Dorsey said several Arab countries are backing Blatter for political reasons.
FIFA’s current president, for example, has been a longtime champion of Qatar’s right to host the 2022 World Cup, he said:
“One would assume that QFA wouldn’t want to turn on Blatter at a time that they need him in Qatar’s battle to keep its World Cup hosting rights. Qatar will not be the only Middle Eastern association that is likely to vote for Blatter rather than one of their own.
Skeikh Ahmed of Kuwait has already said that he won’t allow anyone to undermine Blatter. It’s politics and vested interests – not regional solidarity or what would be best for FIFA – that dictates votes.”
Frenchman Jerome Champagne has also said he will run against Blatter.
Any other contenders must announce their intentions before the end of this month. The elections is scheduled to be held on May 29.
(The post Qatar Football Association backs Blatter over Prince Ali for FIFA post is from Doha News.)
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