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  • FIFA Presidential Candidate Eyes IOC Bidding Reforms


    Prince Ali at the briefing on Tuesday (Keir Radnedge)
    (ATR) FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali believes one of the essential reforms to restore sponsors' faith is to embrace IOC-model reforms of the World Cup bidding process.

    Ali launched an updated manifesto in London in an attempt to build on his brave failure last year when he amassed a solid 73 votes in a vain bid to oust Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.

    Blatter's departure in disgrace has opened the way for a new president with Prince Ali one of five candidates heading for another election congress on Feb. 26.

    The central themes for the 40-year-old head of the Jordan football association remain full transparency on pay and decision-making, an increase of development support allied to tight audit controls, serious consideration of technological aids in the game and World Cup expansion and bid system revision.

    FIFA's hidden troubles exploded after the infamous 2018-2022 World Cup vote in December 2010. Already in place is a decision that future host votes will be taken by congress, not by the ExCo. But this, for Prince Ali, is not enough.

    "We should base a World Cup [award] on the recommendations of the evaluation committee. Also I don't think it's correct for ExCo members to be travelling to bidding nations as happened in the past," he told reporters in London.

    "I will be looking at what the IOC and others do. We need a professional evaluation of bids and to base [the decision] on those recommendations."

    Notoriously the ExCo, in 2010, ignored evaluation concerns about the searing summer temperatures in Qatar. Prince Ali wants to see the Garcia Report into the bidding process published so all of football can learn from this and other mistakes of the past.

    He said: "The entire football world deserves a new way of operating in terms of the governance of the game. It’s not a slogan to say we must unlock the doors and open the windows, it has to be a reality.

    "People want to know what’s happening in this organisation and want to have confidence in a leadership that takes responsibility for what happens.
    Ali: "The entire football world deserves a new way of operating in terms of the governance of the game" (Keir Radnedge)

    "It is a big challenge. It's only then that you can go to the sponsors and stakeholders and say: 'This is what we have done and what we are doing.' so they have confidence and faith in us. There's no more time to waste. We have already lost a year."

    "Catastrophe" If Not Elected

    Failure by the 209 national associations to vote next month for the changes Prince Ali espouses would, he warned, risk "catastrophe".

    His words suggested a concern that the absence of a positive vote at congress would prompt the U.S. and Swiss judicial authorities to seek to enforce change on their terms.

    "The most important thing is to have a really responsible leadership that can implement the right changes - and that's what I'm dedicated to doing [because] the 209 national associations all want to be proud again of being a part of FIFA," Prince Ali said.

    "Somebody has to take up the fight and I am totally committed to guaranteeing that things are done in a proper way. This is the last chance to get it right otherwise things will happen maybe in a different way."

    The reform proposals from the FIFA committee headed by former IOC director general Francois Carrard were "a good beginning but don’t go far enough". Prince Ali wants a maximum of two four-year terms in office for the president and ExCo members compared with Carrard's three-term proposal.

    Prince Ali said: "Two terms is enough if you are hard-working and that includes the president. You have to be dedicated to roll up your sleeves and work on behalf of the 209 members associations.

    "It means being a hands-on president but with clear roles also for a proper CEO, secretary general and so on... proper leadership and somebody who takes responsibility which is what we’ve not seen in the past.

    "That us what is expected, especially at this critical time, from all the stakeholders in the game. It's a very tough job but one that is do-able - and we need to do it immediately."

    Reported by Keir Radnedge in London

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