No more 'Prince Nice Guy' as Ali enters the ring

Wed Sep 9, 2015 6:47pm EDT
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By Simon Evans

MANCHESTER, (Reuters) - If Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan is to beat Michel Platini in the race to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president he knows he will have to be prepared to fight for the job -- and all the indications are that he has taken off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves.

In May, Prince Ali politely -- some might say meekly -- conceded after winning 73 of the 209 votes available in the first round, allowing Blatter to secure a fifth term.

It was a thoughtful gesture from the 39-year-old Jordanian, saving his allies from the very public act of defying Blatter for the second time in a day at the ballot box.

That election was simply about whether FIFA’s congress was ready to ditch Blatter -- something that never looked likely.

This time there will be very a different question facing delegates -- who do they want to lead the reforms of FIFA and re-shape the organization as it looks to leave its corruption crises behind?

As it stands, if Ali is to win, he has to persuade FIFA’s voters that not only is he a credible figure but he has to turn them away from current front-runner Platini, the UEFA president.

It is a task that looks extremely difficult for the Jordanian. The bulk of his 73 votes in May came from Europe, but with Platini standing, that electoral constituency has slipped away from him.

“I was not brought up to walk away in the face of a tough fight. Nor have I been brought up to walk away from what I believe in or take the easy way out,” Ali said as he announced his candidature on Wednesday.   Continued...

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan speaks at the Roman Amphitheatre area in downtown Amman, Jordan, September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed