Australia says no to Blatter’s FIFA re-election campaign

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Canberra, May 29 (IANS) Football Federation of Australia (FFA) chairman Frank Lowy said he will not vote for besieged FIFA president Sepp Blatter in Friday’s presidential vote.

President of the Federation International de Football Association (FIFA) for the past 17 years, Blatter is running for a fifth term.

He remains defiant in the face of growing pressure to step aside after seven high-ranking FIFA officials were arrested on corruption charges in Zurich on Wednesday.

After conducting a round of meetings in Zurich on Thursday, Lowy released a statement early on Friday, saying it was time for a change at the top of FIFA, Xinhua news agency reported.

“FFA believes that profound change within FIFA is needed as soon as possible to address issues of governance and transparency, ” Lowy said.

“This belief will be reflected when Australia casts its vote in the presidential election, should it proceed on Friday in Zurich.”

Blatter’s only opponent is Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein, the head of the Jordan Football Association, and the founder of the West Asian Football Federation.

Prince Ali has remained a vocal advocate for the game in Asia and was instrumental in removing FIFA’s ban on the hijab, saying it would see “happy players returning to the field and playing the game they love.”

Lowy said having reviewed the candidacy of Prince Ali, FFA believes the Jordanian can lead the world football body into a new era.

“The Board of FFA has reviewed the manifesto for change proposed by Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein and believes it provides the basis for a fresh start for FIFA,” Lowy said.

FFA itself is under scrutiny for not informing the Australian Federal Police (AFP) about missing funds paid to suspected corrupt former FIFA executive Jack Warner.

The Federation gave $3,75,000 to Warner, ostensibly to fund new football facilities in his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago, but that money was allegedly siphoned off into one of Warner’s private bank accounts.

FFA defended itself on Friday by saying FIFA had warned it against reporting the matter to the Australian or US police.

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