Prince Ali bin al-Hussein says FIFA has been decimated by the recent corruption scandal but remains confident of change after criminal proceedings were opened against president Sepp Blatter.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland opened proceedings against Blatter on Friday suspicion of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation.
The FIFA president is suspected of signing a contract with the Caribbean Football Union in 2005 that market experts claim handed World Cup television rights for the 2010 event in South Africa and the 2014 showpiece in Brazil to Warner for a fraction of their value.
Blatter, 79, is also alleged to have made a “disloyal payment” to UEFA president Michel Platini in 2011, relating to work carried out between 1999 and 2002 when the Frenchman served as his special advisor.
Platini, also standing to replace Blatter as president, later stated the work was “carried out under a contract with FIFA” and that he had clarified the matter with Swiss authorities.
Friday’s events were the latest in a series of damaging episodes for FIFA, with Blatter gaining re-election and standing down soon after in May amid a backdrop of nine past and present officials being indicted for racketeering, conspiracy and corruption under an investigation by US and Swiss authorities.
And Prince Ali was forthright in his criticism of the governing body, while also stating his confidence in the prospect for change.
“The need for new leadership that can restore the credibility of FIFA has never been more apparent,” he said in a statement.
“We cannot change the past, but we can have a future where FIFA Member Associations are able to focus on football rather than worrying about the next scandal or criminal investigation involving FIFA leadership.
“We have to accept that changing FIFA is not a matter of choice; it has already changed, shaken to its very core by the scandals that have decimated our governing body and cast a cloud over the entire organisation.
“We have a duty to use our expertise, our experience, and our knowledge to lift that cloud by taking action to demonstrate that FIFA is worthy of the sport it oversees on behalf of the players, the fans and the millions of young boys and girls who can benefit from it.
“Change, as I have always said, is a process. It is not an event. The process of change at FIFA began in May. We have an opportunity in February to carry that momentum forward.
“We must now come together and work to restore FIFA’s credibility and reputation by bringing about the change that is so clearly needed.
“I have heard from many Member Associations over the last 24 hours, and what I have heard gives me confidence that, working together, we can emerge from this stronger.”
Blatter’s successor is to be elected at the FIFA Extraordinary Congress in Zurich on February 26, 2016.
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