The FIFA presidential election will proceed as planned in Zurich on Friday after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected an appeal from candidate Prince Ali bin al-Hussein requesting the use of transparent voting booths.
Prince Ali, who is in the running to replace suspended president Sepp Blatter alongside Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, Gianni Infantino, Jerome Champagne and Tokyo Sexwale, called on CAS to suspend the vote after FIFA dismissed his request for transparent booths.
The Jordanian feels the measure would have helped to ensure a fair and open voting process, voicing concerns over delegates possibly contravening a ban on mobile phones in the booths and taking photographs of their ballot papers, and he even transported his own batch of plexiglass booths to the Swiss capital ahead of Friday’s poll.
“The Court of Arbitration for Sport has today issued its decision on the urgent request for provisional measures filed by HRH Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan,” a statement from CAS read. “The request for provisional measures has been rejected by the President of the CAS Appeals Arbitration Division.
“On February 22, 2016, Prince Ali filed an appeal against a decision taken by the FIFA Ad-hoc Electoral Committee dated 15 February 2016 in which it declined to incorporate the use of transparent voting booths for the upcoming FIFA Presidential Election.
“In an urgent request for provisional measures, Prince Ali sought an order that FIFA be directed to use transparent voting booths, as well as independent scrutineers, in order to safeguard the integrity of the voting process and to ensure that the vote is conducted in secret.
“In addition, Prince Ali also asked for the FIFA Presidential Election to be postponed in the event the CAS could not rule on the request for provisional measures before the election, but this request is now moot.”
In a statement of his own responding to the ruling, Prince Ali maintained his stance over the benefits of transparent voting booths and welcomed an anticipated increase in media scrutiny on the back of his campaign.
“I advocated for transparent voting booths on behalf of FA Presidents who want to vote their conscience, without worrying that someone with a different agenda is looking over their shoulder,” he said.
“I fought for them at FIFA and at CAS, and brought transparent booths to Zurich to eliminate any excuse for not using them. I have done all I can. I regret that the system let us down.
“The only positive aspect of today’s ruling is it that the election will now go forward as planned, and the media will be closely watching for any evidence that anyone is photographing their ballot.
“It is now imperative that voters abide by the ban on mobile phones and cameras in the voting booth. I look forward to Friday’s vote and remain as committed as ever to the goal of reforming FIFA.”
Prince Ali was defeated by Blatter in the second round of voting at last May’s FIFA election.
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