Wednesday, February 24, 2016 2:22 pm
FIFA Presidential candidate, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, has asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to postpone the election on Friday (February 26).
The Jordanian is unhappy with “voting arrangements” ahead of the ballot to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter, which is scheduled to take place in Zurich in just three days time.
Prince Ali has already seen a request for transparent voting booths rejected by world football’s governing body and also wants “independent scrutineers” to be present to ensure the vote is carried out with no interference.
A decision will be made by the CAS no later than Thursday (February 25).
“The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered an appeal and request for urgent provisional measures filed by HRH Prince Ali Al Hussein of Jordan 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,” a CAS statement said.
“HRH Prince Ali Al Hussein seeks 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.
“FIFA has been invited to file written observations in reply to Prince Ali’s request.
“The request for provisional measures will be decided by CAS no later than the morning of Thursday 25 February 2016.
“In the meantime, the CAS will not comment on this pending matter.”
Any postponement to the Presidential election seems unlikely, particularly due to the short time-frame the CAS has to work with.
“FIFA opposed our request for an accelerated procedure so that these questions could be decided before February 26,” Prince Ali’s lawyers said in a statement.
“It was therefore natural that Prince Ali goes to the CAS.
“We have registered a new demand at the CAS asking for the suspension of the election scheduled for Friday February 26.”
Central to Prince Ali’s concerns seems to be that pressure will be put on the 209 voting members to back a particular candidate.
Two of his rivals, Asian Football Confederation head Shaikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa and UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino, have been criticised by Prince Ali and another candidate, Frenchman Jérôme Champagne, who have accused the duo of trying to “swamp” Friday’s vote with supporters.
These allies could in theory lobby on their behalf, it is claimed.
One of Prince Ali’s lawyers, Renaud Semerdjian, told AFP: “Only a transparent booth can prove that each voter is following his heart and conscience and that there are no forced votes, by preventing voters taking photos of their voting paper to prove that they have followed voting instructions.”
This is Prince Ali’s second attempt at securing the FIFA Presidency, after he was defeated by Blatter in May.
The Swiss resigned just four days later and has now been banned for eight years due to a “disloyal” payment he allegedly made to UEFA President Michel Platini, who also received the sanction.
UEFA had initially called for that election to be postponed, as various arrests and allegations of corruption engulfed football.
Both Platini and Blatter are currently awaiting the verdict of appeals issued with FIFA.
South African Tokyo Sexwale is the fifth candidate who will be on the ballot form at Friday’s election, which will be held as part of an Extraordinary Congress.