Prince Ali urges FIFA to stick with February election date
By Simon Evans
ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA’s presidential election should go ahead as planned on Feb. 26 and not be delayed due to the suspensions of Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan said on Wednesday.
World soccer chief Blatter and UEFA boss Platini were suspended by FIFA's Ethics Committee last week, engulfed by a deepening corruption scandal as their sport faces criminal investigations in Switzerland and the United States.
FIFA’s ruling executive committee will hold an emergency meeting on Oct. 20 and the possibility of delaying the election of its next leader is likely to be on the agenda.
"Delaying the scheduled election would only postpone needed change and create further instability," Ali said in a statement, his first since the banning of Blatter and Platini.
"It would tell the world that lessons haven’t been learned, that the same backroom deals that have discredited FIFA in the first place continue,” he said.
A 2011 payment of two million Swiss francs ($2.09 million) from FIFA to Frenchman Platini is part of a Swiss criminal investigation into Blatter, in which the UEFA boss is considered as someone “between a witness and an accused person”, according to Swiss judicial authorities.
Platini has said the payment was for his work under contract for FIFA as an advisor to Swiss-born Blatter between 1999 and 2002, and the nine-year payment delay was due to FIFA's financial situation. Both men have denied any wrongdoing.
An election delay would give Platini more time to appeal against his 90-day provisional ban. The ban, together with a possible 45-day extension and the length of any appeals process, are seen as major obstacles to his campaign. Continued...