The 39-year-old Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan is the third son of the late King Hussein of Jordan. He is a military man by trade, educated at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom and currently holds the rank of Brigadier in the Jordanian Armed Forces. In the footballing world, Prince Ali (to give him his short name) is the President of the Jordan Football Association, the founder and president of the West Asian Football Federation and a FIFA vice-president.
For a relatively young man in football administration terms, Prince Ali has some notable achievements. Apart from founding the West Asian Football Federation, he also started the Asian Football Development Project in 2012, a charity which according to its website aims to use football as a platform for social development. He also successfully campaigned for the removal of FIFA’s ban on the hijab in women’s football and on 6 January 2011 was elected FIFA vice-president, becoming the youngest member of the FIFA executive committee. More recently, Prince Ali was one of a number of FIFA officials to call for the publication of Garcia’s report into allegations of corruption surround the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
He announced his intention to challenge for the FIFA presidency on 6 January 2015, apparently encouraged to do so by colleagues. He will base his campaign around the need for change and transparency and said “the headlines should be about football, not about FIFA”. However, I would also like to see him base his campaign on tackling the plight of migrant workers in Qatar, something that should be close to his heart due to his links with the region. He has some powerful supporters for his bid including UEFA president Michel Platini and Jim Boyce, Britain’s FIFA vice-president. However his challenge seems to have been knocked down before it had even started with the news that the Asian Football Confederation will back the incumbent Sepp Blatter in the presidential election.
Prince Ali’s youthful dynamism and his genuine desire for change mark him out to be a very strong candidate. However, his status as royalty could be used against him, especially at a time when FIFA want to be seen as less antiquated. Furthermore, he is not the only declared challenger to Blatter. Jérôme Champagne had already declared his bid for the presidency.
Without support from his own region, Prince Ali may unfortunately struggle to receive many votes. With two anti-Blatter candidates, it is also likely that the opposition vote will be split, leaving the path open for yet another Blatter presidency.
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