2 Jun 2015

Sepp Blatter rival Prince Ali says human rights are vital

Talking to Channel 4 News after Sepp Blatter’s resignation, Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Hussein – who stood against him for the Fifa presidency – says human rights are more important than anything else.

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein spoke to Krishnan Guru-Murthy following the announcement by Sepp Blatter that he would be standing down as president of Fifa, days after being re-elected to a fifth term. This is a transcript of the interview.

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, are you standing again?

Well, first of all I think that I’m very happy that the change happened. I cannot say any more than that. I am very happy for the support that I got from the FA in particular. We need to work – and we need to work on the world to change the image of Fifa.

Well, if corruption has been proven with regard to Qatar and Russia, if it is proven, do you think those bids should be reopened? Or should the competitions go ahead?

Well, look, I think every place has the right to host the World Cup. But at the same time, from my point of view, I think that human rights are more important than anything else.

I am concerned, obviously, about these issues. I stood as vice-president from Asia for the last four years. The people who are suffering come from my own continent.

So what do you think can be done to clean up this organisation? How can it be done?

Well, I think we have to focus on Football, focus on reality, and so on. That’s it. And I think that we have to take a new step forward. I think that, you know, to me the idea of this organisation being a company, what have you…

It’s a service organisation. It’s a service for football. And we have to reverse the pyramid. We have to put the priority of players and fans above anyone else. That’s what I’ve thought all along. And that’s what I think for the future.

Prince Ali, ABC News in the United States is just reporting that Sepp Blatter is about to face investigation himself. Have you heard anything about that? What would your thoughts be?

I have no idea about that or about any other investigation that’s happened. I’m just here for the sport and I love it. And that’s the most important thing.

Is there not an argument for a complete clear-out now of Fifa and a completely fresh start?

Well, look, I’m willing to help. I think that we have many people, including Michael van Praag (Royal Dutch Football Federation chairman) and others, who are willing to do that. But we have to get into the system, and I think that it’s enough to do that at this stage.