(Reuters) - FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein will launch a 10-year program to restore confidence in soccer’s “secretive” world governing body if elected.
The Jordanian prince last week announced he would run for soccer’s top job and is in campaign mode to drum up support to unseat incumbent Sepp Blatter who is bidding for a fifth consecutive term.
”I believe we should be totally transparent,“ the BBC on Saturday quoted Prince Ali as saying. ”I will look to a 10-year program for the organization, where everyone is a part of it and ourselves as the executive committee will implement it.
”In the coming months, I will be looking to sit down and talk to all our member associations and listen to them.
“I‘m not coming in to dictate. I have my ideas and progress I want to implement, but I have to hear back from my colleagues.”
The 39-year-old prince’s decision to run has breathed new life into the presidential run-off but he faces an uphill battle to beat Swiss Blatter in the May election.
Frenchman Jerome Champagne is also standing.
A member of FIFA’s powerful executive committee and a vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation, Prince Ali attended an AFC meeting in Melbourne on Friday but senior officials there declined to back his candidacy, saying the bloc was unanimously behind Blatter.
On announcing his candidacy, Prince Ali said he wanted to shift the focus on FIFA from “administrative controversy” back to the sport.
FIFA has been under fire over its handling of an investigation into allegations of corruption in the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups which were won by Russia and Qatar respectively.
In November, FIFA’s ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert issued a summary of chief investigator Michael Garcia’s report.
The summary identified cases of “inappropriate conduct” in a number of the bids but said there was not enough evidence to justify reopening the process.
Under pressure to release more details, FIFA said last month it would publish an “appropriate” version of the report but the Russia and Qatar World Cups would still go ahead.
”Reform is crucial,“ Prince Ali said. ”I was the first to ask for the Garcia report to come out. We should have nothing to hide.
”FIFA as an organization tends to be a bit secretive, but we should be confident and happy to be open and engaged with everyone.
“I don’t see a reason to be guarded. We have to bring the administration of sport into the current time we live in. I want to bring back that confidence.”
Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Ken Ferris