MOSCOW, January 6 (Sputnik) — Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan has announced that he intends to challenge Sepp Blatter for the presidency of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) in May when elections are held.
In a one page statement released Tuesday, Ali, 38, states that he would be "seeking the presidency of FIFA because [he believes] it is time to shift the focus away from administrative controversy and back to sport. The headlines should be about football, the beautiful sport, not about FIFA." In the statement, Ali notes that world soccer "deserves a world-class governing body" that serves as "a model of ethics, transparency and good governance."
Switzerland's Blatter, 78, will be seeking a fifth term of office, and has been chairing the international body since 1998. Ali will be joined by Frenchman Jermone Champagne, 56, in challenging Blatter.
Ali is expected to be able to bank on the support of Michel Platini, the head of the Union of European Football Associations, which represents 54 countries, and that of US Soccer chief Sunil Gulati. BBC Sports analyst Mani Djazmi has noted that with the European body solidly against another Blatter run, Ali "has got a chance," although in times past "others have tried to overcome [Blatter] but have failed."
Goal.com's Peter Staunton said that he believes Ali "will run the longtime FIFA chief close," counting "on allies from across the FIFA spectrum." It has been assumed that Blatter has been assured the support of Africa's 56 members of the Confederation of African Football, and Asian Football Confederation head Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain has stated late last year that its 47 members would support Blatter in the upcoming elections.
The 209 members of FIFA will elect the body's president by secret ballot in Zurich May 29. A two-thirds majority is necessary for victory in the first round of voting, a simple majority necessary in subsequent rounds.