The lone challenger to Sepp Blatter in the last presidential election at world soccer’s governing body will run again after the Swiss head decided to step down following a corruption scandal.
Jordanian Prince Ali bin al-Hussein will take part in the Feb. 26 election, he said today in an e-mailed statement. Ali forced a second round of voting in May’s poll, and then quit. The election came two days after several senior FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich as part of a corruption investigation.
Ali considered running again for months. A former ally, European soccer head Michel Platini, and Korean billionaire Chung Mong-Joon have already declared. Ali relied on the backing of Platini’s UEFA for support in his attempt to unseat Blatter, who held the job for 17 years. Since then, he’s been critical of the former French soccer star, widely considered to be the favorite for the post.
“Ten months ago, I was the only person who dared to challenge Mr. Blatter for the Presidency of FIFA,” Ali said in a transcript of a speech he was to deliver in Jordanian capital Amman. “I ran because I believe that FIFA needs change. And I had the courage to fight for change when others were afraid.”
Platini helped Blatter get elected for the first time in 1998 before turning into a critic of the 79-year-old.
“I conceded that election,” Ali said of the May vote. “Not because I was not the best candidate, but because others were using me to make room for themselves. They didn’t have the guts to run, but I did. Ever since President Blatter promised his resignation just a few days later, they have been scrambling to secure the job for themselves.”