Prince Ali says FIFA needs to speed up re­forms

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

AM­MAN: For­mer FIFA pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Prince Ali Bin Al Hus­sein of Jor­dan is con­cerned about the pace of re­form in world soc­cer’s gov­ern­ing body and says new pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino has “no time to lose” in bring­ing trans­parency to the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

In­fantino was elected in Fe­bru­ary with the task of lead­ing FIFA into calmer wa­ters af­ter a se­ries of cor­rup­tion scan­dals plunged the gov­ern­ing body into its worst cri­sis. Prince Ali told Reuters in an in­ter­view that In­fantino should fo­cus on im­ple­ment­ing re­forms rather than is­sues such as pro­pos­als to ex­pand the World Cup.

“I can only spec­u­late as a new pres­i­dent he first has to look at his own ad­min­is­tra­tion and see what’s go­ing on in there,” he told Reuters in Jor­dan, which is cur­rently host­ing the Women’s Un­der-17 World Cup.

The tour­na­ment is the first FIFA or­gan­ised fe­male World Cup in the Mid­dle East and is con­sid­ered a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for women in the re­gion, long con­strained by cul­tural and re­li­gious con­ser­vatism.

“Every­body is look­ing at FIFA and the di­rec­tion it is go­ing and again it’s crit­i­cal time, there no time to lose.” Soc­cer’s global gov­ern­ing body is at­tempt­ing to re­cover from the worst graft scan­dal in its his­tory which has seen 42 peo­ple, in­clud­ing for­mer FIFA ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers, in­dicted in the United States since May last year.

Crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions are also un­der way in Switzer­land, where FIFA has its head­quar­ters. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion was also opened into FIFA’s de­ci­sion to award the 2018 World Cup to Rus­sia and the 2022 tour­na­ment to Qatar, a small, wealthy desert coun­try with no real soc­cer tra­di­tion.

Prince Ali said that as some­one who had “stuck to my guns in terms of really sup­port­ing foot­ball and hav­ing a clean or­gan­i­sa­tion”, he knew how ur­gent it was to speed up in­ves­ti­ga­tions and tackle im­proper busi­ness prac­tices. “You really need to have a clean FIFA to be able to trickle down to our na­tional as­so­ci­a­tions” said Prince Ali, high­light­ing on­go­ing prob­lems such as match­fix­ing.

“.. the re­al­ity is putting aside the big ideas in the World Cup, the real is­sue is the or­gan­i­sa­tion and clean­ing it up for me I wish it will be more stream­lined, more open and that’s what I am hop­ing will take place,” he added.

Prince Ali said the pro­posal to en­large the World Cup could back­fire if not prop­erly planned out, cit­ing prob­lems that faced in Brazil and South Africa.

“When it comes to FIFA, at the mo­ment there are other pri­or­i­ties really ... my only con­cern is that it’s maybe more po­lit­i­cal and about pleas­ing peo­ple than what is best for the game,” he said.— Reuters

Prince Ali Bin Al Hus­sein

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