By Mike Collett
LONDON (Reuters) – The Jordanian prince beaten in May’s FIFA presidential election says he can win the race to become president next February because the old order which led world soccer’s governing body into crisis is being swept away.
Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan is one of five men seeking to replace Sepp Blatter in February’s special elective vote. He told reporters in London he was optimistic of doing better than in May, when he was beaten by 133-73 votes by Blatter at the FIFA Congress in Zurich.
“I am confident that I can win the election because I believe I have the best ideas for what the future of FIFA should be and I have full faith and confidence in our national associations.
“I feel much more confident with the national associations now because I can see they feel that a weight has been lifted off their shoulders.
“Under the terms of the election, unlike before, the electoral body has stipulated there can be no block voting by confederations, forcing them how to vote, as we used to see in the past and I believe I have support from all over the world.”
Among the wielders of the block vote in the past was the now-disgraced Jack Warner of CONCACAF, the South American and Caribbean confederation, who used to publicly state that all his 35 member states were voting for Blatter.
“That cannot happen now,” said Ali. “All candidates have been given strict instructions on how the election should be run and the confederations cannot control the individual votes of their members.”
The landscape ahead of February’s vote looks very different to May’s, which took place two days after police swooped on FIFA delegates and other officials at their hotel in Zurich, sparking the biggest crisis in the organisation’s 111-year history.
Blatter, who stepped down four days after being re-elected, is currently suspended from office, as is UEFA President Michel Platini and former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.
Jeffrey Webb, another former president of CONCACAF, has been stripped of his position and is facing corruption charges in the United States.
Earlier on Wednesday, Blatter, who is not standing in February’s election, and Platini, who is hoping to do so, had their appeals against their suspensions turned down by FIFA.
Prince Ali said he decided to re-enter the race for the presidency in September because other people he thought might take up his torch to reform FIFA did not want to do so.
“I felt a deep sense of responsibility. I talked to others who were potential candidates at the time to see if they would do what was needed to be done and I did not get the encouragement that I needed, that is why I decided I definitely needed to get back into this.”
As well as Prince Ali, former FIFA official Jerome Champagne of France, Swiss Gianni Infantino, UEFA’s general secretary, South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale and Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain are also standing.
The election is on Feb. 26 in Zurich.
(Reporting by Mike Collett; editing by Andrew Roche)