Frontrunner Prince Ali seeks suspension of Fifa presidential election
Lawyers for Prince Ali bin al Hussein said they have made an official request to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to suspend the Fifa presidential election on Friday because of a dispute over voting arrangements.Updated: Feb 23, 2016 15:27 IST
Fifa presidential contender Prince Ali bin al Hussein has called on the international sport tribunal to suspend Friday’s Fifa presidential election because of the voting arrangements, his lawyers said.
The Jordanian prince, one of five contenders, wants transparent voting booths used at the congress to find a replacement for Sepp Blatter. But this was rejected by Fifa’s election commission.
The prince’s Paris lawyers said they had gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to get the vote suspended because Fifa would not agree to an emergency hearing on the voting booths.
“We have registered a new demand at the CAS asking for the suspension of the election scheduled for Friday February 26,” the lawyers said in a statement.
The lawyers, Szpiner, Toby, Ayela and Semerdjian, had already made a request for a CAS hearing about the booths. But they said Fifa’s electoral chiefs had blocked a CAS hearing before Friday’s vote.
“Fifa opposed our request for an accelerated procedure (at the CAS) so that these questions could be decided before February 26,” the lawyers said.
“It was therefore natural that Prince Ali goes to the CAS.”
The statement said the latest official request to CAS was made Monday.
The prince has also paid for transparent voting booths to be sent to Zurich for the congress to find a replacement for Sepp Blatter.
“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,” Renaud Semerdjian, one of the lawyers, told AFP.
Fifa responded by saying that mobile phones and cameras would be banned in the voting booths so that no photos could be taken.
The prince has been joined by another contender, Jerome Champagne, in complaining about the vote however.
Champagne has called on football’s world governing body to cancel the accreditation of Uefa and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) observers who he said would be used to lobby support for two rivals.
Champagne accused Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, the AFC president, and Gianni Infantino, Uefa general secretary, of seeking to “swamp” Friday’s vote with supporters.
Sheikh Salman and Infantino are considered the frontrunners in the Fifa race.
Champagne, like the prince an outsider, said the observers would give an unfair advantage to Sheikh Salman and Infantino.
The former Fifa deputy secretary general, said he had found out with “stupefaction” that AFC and Uefa observers had been accredited “at the very moment when these two confederations are in their final push in favour of their respective candidates.”
He added that those accredited were mainly members of Sheikh Salman and Infantino’s campaign teams.
“It is clear that this reveals the objective to swamp the Congress hall with confederation employees able to access the voting FAs and their delegates,” he said in an official complaint to Fifa’s electoral committee.
He called on the committee to cancel “these unfair and undue privileges” and warned of other action if there was no response in 24 hours.
First Published: Feb 23, 2016 15:05 IST