Prince Ali: Transparency is the way ahead

Prince Ali, who had given a decent fight to Sepp Blatter in the last elections, said FIFA, which had been struggling with a credibility crisis, needed to restore the faith among fans. The Jordan Football Association chief added that his main agenda would be development, including focus on grassroots.

Jordan Prince Ali bin al-Hussein believes that India is crucial to bettering football in Asia.   -  AP

Considered a top contender for the FIFA presidential elections next year, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan says the world governing body for football, which is grappling with large-scale corruption issues, must bring in transparency and change its style of functioning to move ahead.

Prince Ali, who had given a decent fight to Sepp Blatter in the last elections, said FIFA, which had been struggling with a credibility crisis, needed to restore the faith among fans.

“We have to be open. We have to unlock the doors, open the windows. There is nothing to hide. I think that is the way ahead...We have to change the way we work. It is a service to the national associations. You own it, we owe it you. We have to put the priorities on the players and fans at the top. Not the other way,” said Prince Ali here on Sunday.

Main agenda is development

The Jordan Football Association chief said his main agenda would be development, including focus on grassroots. “Sometimes, working on one blueprint for the whole world does not work. You have to go case by case.”

In order to ensure good governance in FIFA, Prince Ali backed the idea of introducing 'term limits' (followed by a cooling off period) in the apex body. “Term limits is very important especially for the president of FIFA...At the end of the day, you are responsible for 209 countries. You should have the energy and ability to do it.”

However, he was not in favour of putting any age limit for the FIFA top job.

In the backdrop of the capital city becoming the battleground of two Asian contenders, Prince Ali and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman, the Jordan royal said, “I would be honoured to represent Asia. And it's time we take that step.”

Even as the AFC announced its support for Sheikh Salman, Prince Ali said, “This election is about every single national association. It is not about the confederations. This election is a matter of belief. Those who want to move forward and those who do not. And I want to move forward.”

‘India is crucial’

Asked whether one day Asia could be like Europe in world football, Prince Ali said, “Maybe we can beat them. But it is a long-term strategy. We have the biggest continent, best demography, we have everything in our favour. But we have to have faith in ourselves.”

Prince Ali said India had been making good progress and could play a big role. “With all your demography and the way you are, India is so crucial and so important.”

Talking about the controversies surrounding the allotment of World Cup hosting rights to Russia and Qatar, Prince Ali said, “Last time around the double bid was a mistake. We have to have the best practices deciding the World Cup.”

He said FIFA had to guarantee the workers' rights in Qatar's preparations for the 2022 World Cup.

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