Prince Ali hints he might pull out of FIFA election campaign

The 39-year-old Jordanian royal is standing against Blatter along with Michael van Praag

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Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein said on Monday he would consider withdrawing from the FIFA presidential election race to allow a single candidate to challenge Sepp Blatter when the votes are cast at the FIFA Congress on May 29.

The 39-year-old Jordanian royal, who is president of the Jordan FA and a member of the FIFA executive committee is standing against Blatter along with Michael van Praag, the president of the Dutch FA and former Portugal World Player of the Year Luis Figo.

“The important thing is that we support the person who has the best chance of making a change in FIFA,” he said.

“At some point there will be a discussion about that.”

Prince Ali has privately spoken of the need to launch the strongest possible challenge to Blatter and said at the Soccerex Asia Forum, which he is hosting at the King Hussein convention centre some 60kms from Amman, that the time had come to change FIFA for the better.

The 79-year-old Blatter, who has been president since 1998, is seeking a fifth term in office and is expected to get it when FIFA’s 209 members vote at their Congress in Zurich.

Unless he wins the presidential election, Prince Ali will leave the FIFA executive in May because of changes to the way the Asian confederation selects its members for the board.

He told the BBC that it might be better for delegates at the Congress to have a straight choice between two candidates rather than four.

He said: “I have tremendous respect for both the other challengers.

“We all have our different approaches but I think we have one common goal and that’s about the need for change in FIFA.

“It’s never about one person and that’s been the case for me from the very beginning.”

Asked if he would consider withdrawing he replied: “Of course, everything is there -- but it has to be for the candidate with the best possibilities of winning.”

Last week reports suggesting that Figo and Van Praag were considering pulling out of the campaign were strongly dismissed by both of their campaign managers.