(WFI) After Sepp Blatter confirmed his intention to seek a fifth term as FIFA president, vice-president Prince Ali bin Al Hussein said that term limits should be introduced in the future.
The head of the Jordanian Football Association was speaking at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester where Blatter was not in attendance – not in person anyway, as he had recorded an exclusive video interview for the event.
In the video, the 78-year-old confirmed he would tell the FIFA executive committee in two weeks’ time that he intends to stand for re-election as president next year.
ExCo member Prince Ali didn’t oppose Blatter’s intention but spoke of a need for continuing reform in world football’s governing body.
“He has a full right to stand again no matter of what he has said or hasn’t in the past and that looks to be what he has in mind,” Ali said in a one-on-one interview at Soccerex.
“But our process of reform within FIFA needs to continue and eventually we should look at instituting term limits – maybe not just for the FIFA president but for executive members including myself.
“In Asia we have an age limit and in some other confederations. I don’t believe in an age limit but I do believe in term limits. People would be much happier with knowing there are limits as well as people, who aspire to a position, in knowing they were working towards a limit.
“It is always good to have new ideas and new opinions, and that’s the way forward. But me as a candidate for next year ? No.”
His decision not to stand against Blatter follows UEFA president Michel Platini’s similar decision last month.
Term limits or age limits for officials were already discussed and roundly rejected at the FIFA congress in Sao Paulo in June, leaving Blatter with a clear path to continue in a post he has held since 1998.
Winter Qatar World Cup “Makes Sense”
Another four-year term would end in 2019, just before the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The tournament has been plagued with corruption allegations and controversy since the Gulf state was awarded hosting rights in December 2010.
But Prince Ali insists the Qatar World Cup, which now looks likely to be held in the winter, can be a highly successful event. “If we are going to have the World Cup in 2022 in Qatar in our part of the world we want to participate and participate in strength and we need a long-term strategy to aid our development, but it can be the catalyst for our development.
“I think it can be a wonderful celebration and obviously it makes more sense for it to be held in the winter.”
FIFA’s Qatar task force met for the first time on Monday for first discussions to determine the date of the Qatar World Cup, with January/February and November/ December now options
as well as the summer window, which is unlikely due to the sizzling desert heat.
Meanwhile, FIFA investigator Michael Garcia delivered his report into the 2018/2022 bidding process last week.
“We are all awaiting the report from Michael Garcia. I think he has done a great job. We needed to support him for full transparency,” Ali added.
In his pre-recorded interview, Blatter once again reiterated his missionary ambition to have the World Cup hosted in new territories – and that it was right the Middle East had a chance. “In the rotation of the World Cup it was obvious that one day we should give the World Cup also to the Arabic world,” he said. “Then it was a decision taken on December 2, 2010 by an executive committee which was reduced to 22 members at that time.
“It was a democratic decision taken by secret ballot and this was their decision. Now we have to make the best of it in order to show that also a small country can host the World Cup. But it is a challenge.”
Prince Ali’s Jordan plays host to the U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2016. The youth tournaments are often used as a barometer as to whether a country could handle hosting a senior competition.
But next year will be a chance for social development, as much as footballing development according to Blatter.
“When you look just now at the international geo-political map, we are going to play a women’s competition where it will have a big impact on the development of women’s football but also on the development of women in the Islamic culture.”
Blatter on Manager Challenges to Referees
One aspect of development in football that Blatter would like to see now though is the introduction of manager challenges.
Similar to the Hawk-eye challenges in tennis, Blatter will propose to the International Football Association board that managers and head coaches can challenge one or two decisions taken by the referee in a match.
“[We will] try to bring this so-called call that the coaches or the team managers, they have the right in the half, twice or once… it means to challenge a refereeing decision, but only when the game is stopped,” Blatter said in the interview.
“Then, there must be a television monitor but by the television company and not by another referee. And then the referee and the coach, they will go then to look at, and then the referee may change his mind, as is the case in tennis, for instance.”
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