November 25, 2015 / 12:51 PM / 2 years ago

'Old-school' sports chiefs need to change: IOC's Prince Feisal

BERLIN (Reuters) - International federations need to change to become more transparent with some of them still stuck in their ‘old-school’ past, Jordanian Olympic Committee chief Prince Feisal Al Hussein said on Wednesday.

People are seen through a glass as they gather inside the headquarters of the Russian Olympic Committee in Moscow, Russia, November 18, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

Prince Feisal, who is an International Olympic Committee member and whose brother, Prince Ali, is running for the presidency of world soccer’s governing body FIFA, said the image of professional sports was taking a hit.

World athletics (IAAF) and FIFA are in the midst of their deepest crisis in their respective long histories with top officials investigated for corruption, money-laundering and bribery while allegations of widespread doping in professional sports has already led to the ban of Russian track and field athletes, with new IAAF chief Sebastian Coe under mounting pressure.

“When you are looking at high level athletes it does make it challenging with the difficulties several federations are facing,” said Prince Feisal, who is also founder and chairman of non-profit, peace-building organization Generations For Peace, when asked by Reuters about the consequences of the current scandals on world sport.

“We do feel globally there is the impression professional sports is unfortunately corrupt because of some of the issues,” he said in a conference call, adding federations needed to become more transparent.

“We would love to see transformation occur. We would like to see greater openness, transparency and accountability. As members of a sports authority we have the responsibility to be transparent and accountable, ” he said.

He said federations and sports organizations were now all brushed into the same category despite major differences in transparency between them. “That is not fair,” he said.

“But not everybody has been able to transform. Some people may be very old-school and have not evaluated their processes to have that transparency and accountability in place.”

He said it was up to the individual federations to put these mechanisms in place, before giving his brother a ringing endorsement for the FIFA top job.

“We would like to see better governance mechanisms for sports in general. That is my position.”

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein is one of five men seeking to replace Sepp Blatter in February’s special elective vote, with Blatter under investigation and UEFA President Michel Platini, once his likely successor at FIFA, facing a potential lifetime ban from football.

”I am not an expert in that area (football) but we all grew up, my brothers and I, having a great teacher; our father (King Hussein),“ said Feisal, a wrestler in high school. ”We all embody his values and his commitments.

”(Prince Ali) is a very good candidate, capable. He can do the transformation needed. Whether he is successful or not is up to FIFA and what they choose for the future. He is a capable person who could help that transformation.

“He is passionate about his work and committed to making a difference. That’s the values that will hold him in good stead in this competition,” Prince Feisal said.

Editing by Rex Gowar

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