World Bulletin / News Desk
A Jordanian prince seeking to head the world’s football governing body vowed to reform the scandal-stricken organization following a new round of indictments and arrests of senior officials.
Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who previously served on FIFA’s executive board, is in the midst of a heated race for the organization’s presidency. He lost an earlier campaign to Sepp Blatter, who has since resigned his post amid an ongoing investigation prompting a special election for 2016.
“The latest announcement by the U.S. Justice Department should remove any doubt about the need for reform at FIFA,” he said. “The clock on corruption has run out.”
Al-Hussein, 39, said he rejected the notion that internal reform within the organization is impossible despite the widening case.
“Sustainable change can only come from within and must be built on consensus,” he said, stressing that FIFA “is not beyond saving”.
“One of the reasons why it’s so important to save FIFA is because it is the umbrella for football all over the world, and it would be a real shame to be dragged down by these people,” said al-Hussein. “That’s why this is the most important opportunity to get it right, and if we don’t this time then we’ll be in real serious trouble."
The Justice Department on Thursday unsealed a 92-count indictment against 16 sitting or former FIFA officials. Two confederation presidents were also arrested in the Swiss city of Zurich.
Alfredo Hawit and Juan Angel Napout were arrested early Thursday at the Baur au Lac hotel where they were staying for a FIFA executive committee meeting.
Thursday’s indictments were the second wave of charges against organization officials.
To date, 41 individuals and entities have been charged with crimes, according to the Justice Department. Of those, 12 individuals and two sports companies have been convicted.