Ali calls for Fifa presidential election to be postponed

Prince Ali Bin Hussein wants transparent voting booths to be used in Friday's Fifa presidential election. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire.
Prince Ali Bin Hussein wants transparent voting booths to be used in Friday's Fifa presidential election. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire.
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Prince Ali bin al Hussein has called for the postponement of Friday’s Fifa presidential election, according to lawyers claiming to represent the Jordanian.

Prince Ali, one of five candidates to succeed Sepp Blatter, is seeking reassurances over the voting procedure for the election after world football’s governing body dismissed his idea to use transparent polling booths.

And, with the reassurances that the voting process will be “fair and transparent” still to be given and requests for a swift hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport before Friday’s vote blocked by Fifa, Prince Ali has requested the election be delayed.

“We have requested Fifa to set out the conditions of a fair electoral process,” a statement from lawyers Szpiner, Toby, Ayela and Semerdjian read.

“Instead of agreeing upon HRH Prince Ali’s offer make available to the Fifa the transparent voting booths, we do note that Fifa will simply request voters ‘to leave their mobile while going to vote’.

“This request is not sufficient. Fifa remains silent upon the measures to enforce it and sanctions associated with it. Prince Ali has naturally brought the matter to CAS on Monday the 22nd [of February].

“Fifa has objected to our demand for expedited hearing in order for an award to be delivered before February 26th.

“This behaviour bears no rational other than denying any right to a fair and transparent voting process.

“As a consequence, we are now seeking provisional measures before CAS to suspend the coming election on Friday 26th of February.”

Prince Ali already plans to test Fifa’s resistance to transparent voting booths by having some sent to Zurich ahead of Friday’s vote.

Fifa, which is this week expected to vote in wide-scale reforms to ensure openness and guard against the corruption which has engulfed it in recent times, insists it is sufficient for delegates from the 209 voting nations to hand over cameras and mobile phones before entering the booths at Hallenstadion in Zurich.

It is understood Prince Ali wishes to be made aware of the rules in case delegates flout the ban.

Voters reportedly documented how they had voted in June’s presidential election, which Blatter won ahead of Prince Ali before resigning days later, prompting this week’s extraordinary congress and leading to Prince Ali’s request as he bids to ensure a fair election.

Prince Ali is standing for election alongside Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa of Bahrain, Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino, South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale and Jerome Champagne, a former Fifa deputy secretary general from France.

Sheikh Salman, the Asian Football Confederation president, and Infantino are considered the favourites to succeed Blatter, who first became Fifa president in 1998.

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