FIFA has been “decimated” by scandal, Prince Ali bin al Hussein a candidate to become president offootball‘s world body said Saturday after its president was placed under criminal investigation.

He said the suspicions of criminal mismanagement against FIFA’s veteran leader highlighted “the need for new leadership that can restore the credibility of FIFA”.

“We cannot change the past, but we can have a future where FIFA member associations are able to focus onfootball rather than worrying about the next scandal or criminal investigation involving FIFA leadership,” he said in a statement.

The prince, a former FIFA vice president, who challenged Blatter in an election this year, said FIFA “has already changed, shaken to its very core by the scandals that have decimated our governing body and cast a cloud over the entire organisation.”

Football leaders have a “duty” to show that the world body is “worthy of the sport it oversees on behalf of the players, the fans and the millions of young boys and girls who can benefit from it.”

“I have heard from many member associations over the last 24 hours, and what I have heard gives me confidence that, working together, we can emerge from this stronger,” the prince said.

Swiss investigators questioned Blatter on Friday on suspicion of “criminal mismanagement” as the FIFA corruption storm climbed to the summit of the world body’s leadership.

This dramatic latest twist in FIFA’s corruption saga came after months of probes following raids in Zurich which led to the indictment of more than a dozen top officials.

Blatter announced four days after he was reelected on May 30 that he will stand down. The prince, UEFA president Michel Platini — who has been implicated in the new investigation — and South Korean tycoon Chung Mong-Joon, also a former FIFA vice-president, are leading candidates in the February 26 election to take over. – Agence France-Presse

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