Will Jordanian FA President really challenge ageing football dinosaur?
With Sepp Blatter turning 79, you’d expect him to be preparing his pipe and slippers, ready to sit back and reflect on a long career at the head of FIFA. But no, he fully intends to continue, which is a worrying thought when his outdated and frankly delirious thoughts on racism and sexim continue to baffle everybody with half a brain cell.
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It seems his promise that his current term would be his last was a false one, and he outlined his hopes to stand for a fifth term in May’s FIFA congress in Zurich.
Up until recently, Blatter’s former ally, Jerome Champagne, was the only one to declare his opposition, whilst Michel Platini bowed out and Chilean Harold Mayne-Nichols remained noncommittal.
Enter ExCo Moderniser Price Ali Bin Al Hussein, who now looks to be Blatter’s only serious challenger.
But how well will he do? Head of the Jordanian FA, he is half the age of Blatter at 39. He is the third son of late King Jordan, Sandhurst-educated and has been a FIFA vice-president since 2011.
It all sounds very impressive, but what’s most important is that he wants to back the sport to take the limelight over from the organisation once again.
“It is time to shift the focus away from administrative controversy and back to sport.
“The headlines should be about football, not about Fifa,” he said recently.
Being the president of the Jordanian FA may not sound like much, but he’s been in the post since 1999, in his 16 years of experience he will have undoubtedly learned a few things.
He has the backing of his peers, and it would be fair to say that he is a football man through and through.
“The world game deserves a world-class governing body – an international federation that is a service organisation and a model of ethics, transparency and good governance.”
He supported the publication of ethics investigator Michael Garcia’s report into allegations of corruption surrounding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids, and would be a good choice for those wanting to rid football of corruption at the highest level.
FIFA has taken a beating under Blatter, and it is most definitely time for a change, though it will likely become clearer in the coming months as to what the Prince’s plans are.