Prince Ali in Nigeria, pledges equal opportunities for all federations
FIFA Presidential Candidate, Prince Ali Bin Hussein of Jordan breezed into Lagos yesterday in continuation of his trans-Atlantic campaign tour, which has seen him vising countries as far apart as Bermuda and New Zealand.
The Jordanian football Association President, who was described by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) boss, Amaju Pinnick, as “a young man, who has a passion for football development,” told a select gathering of journalists at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, that his mission in FIFA is to sanitise the body and make ‘football as attractive as it used to be.’
The 39-year-old prince is among five candidates seeking to replace Sepp Blatter, who plans to step aside after the February 26 election in Zurich. Prince Ali was the lone challenger to the Blatter last summer, losing in the second round of voting.
Now, he has promised to open up FIFA and ensure that all the federations have equal opportunities in the body.
“We need to bring people together to share our experiences so that everybody will know where we are coming from.
“When you have an organization with 209 members, you need vibrant young men who can move around to feel the pulse of the people. I am not going to sit down in Zurich and run FIFA from there. No.”
He added: “Nigeria is such an important country, not only in Africa, but in world football that any serious candidate must reckon with it.
“I have seen what is happening in Nigeria and I must say that Amaju Pinnick is the real symbol of what the future should be. We are from a new generation that wants to clean up FIFA and push it to a new direction because we love the game.”
He promised to open more training opportunities for the less developed countries, saying that FIFA under him would offer scholarship opportunities to managers of the game to bring them at par with modern trends.
“I have seen what Pinnick is doing in educating your managers and I think that is the way to go. We will offer more training programmes through scholarships so that people from diverse cultures and experiences will work together as one.
“There is such a diversity. Personally, coming from a developing country, I do feel I can bridge gaps because I understand the needs for development but I also understand the elites and their concerns.”
On the proposed increase in the number of teams at the World Cup, Price Ali said, “I believe there is room for expansion. Continents should have good representation at the World Cup. If I am elected president we will sit down to look at the proposal thoroughly. We have to look at it also in terms of the capacity of the host country and logistical issues.”