FIFA presidential contender Prince Ali bin al-Hussein demanded Wednesday that the scandal-hit world football body maintain its election date to avoid creating “instability”.

The FIFA executive is to meet next Tuesday following the suspension of its president Sepp Blatter and media reports say it could delay an election scheduled for February 26.

“With FIFA’s crisis deepening, the organisation needs to move beyond interim leadership and elect an accountable president,” said the Jordanian royal, a former FIFA vice president. 

“Delaying the scheduled election would only postpone needed change and create further instability.

“It would tell the world that lessons haven’t been learned, that the same backroom deals that have discredited FIFA in the first place continue.”

FIFA, facing major investigations by US and Swiss authorities, was further rocked last week when its ethics watchdog suspended Blatter and UEFA leader Michel Platini. Blatter is under criminal investigation in Switzerland while Platini was named in the inquiry over a $2 million payment from FIFA.

“Recent events at FIFA have shown us that no one is above the law. The Ethics Committee must now be allowed to do its work in a robust and timely fashion,” said the prince who left the executive committee in May when he his challenge to Blatter’s reelection failed.

“Members of the FIFA Executive Committee should remember that Football Associations, players, coaches and fans the world over are watching.

“The Exco should not interfere with an ongoing process that was put in place by the ad hoc electoral committee. The election date of February 26 was set three months ago with a clear procedure that meets all of FIFA’s statutory requirements. Candidates have had plenty of time to declare and still do. The rules should not be changed after the game has started.” 

Platini’s suspension means that he is not certain to be accepted as a candidate. Another contender Chung Mong-Joon, a South Korean tycoon and former FIFA vice president, has been ruled out of the contest after he was banned for six years by the ethics committee last week.

Appeals have been made by Blatter, Platini and Chung agains their suspensions or exclusions.

Chung, who faced action over his lobbying for South Korea’s bid for the 2022 World Cup, went to the FIFA Appeal Committee “on the same day when the FIFA Ethics Committee announced its decision,” said his spokesman Lin Byung-Taik.

“We are preparing to go to the Court of Arbitration forSport in due process,” he added.

If the election is maintained for February 26, candidates, who need the support of five member associations, have until October 26 to register. – Agence France-Presse

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