Outgoing FIFA President Sepp Blatter is set to face the media for the first time since stepping down and Prince Ali bin Hussein, Blatter’s foe in the recent presidential election, has also once again stepped into the limelight and will provide further speculation about his aim to be the new President.
After gaining 73 votes in the election, Prince Ali from Jordan, did have support, and after the President’s agreement to step down after world-wide condemnation because of his committee’s alleged fraud and money laundering escapades, some are asking questions about his further pursuit of the top job even though he has had to relinquish his main roles in FIFA.
Prince Ali is set to appear at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester in early September, which could be a sign that he wants to continue where he left off and announce his candidacy prior to the extraordinary congress to elect Blatter's successor.
The young Jordanian has not been shy about expressing his views about taking on the top job in order to improve FIFA’s reputation, which has been decimated by the recent arrest of the ‘FIFA Seven’ in Zurich on charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering.
If Prince Ali does put his hat in the ring for the Presidency, he will inherit the unenviable task of cleaning-up football’s world governing body, which currently has six senior members of its leadership currently being questioned by Swiss authorities before possibly being extradited to the United States.
The FIFA executives have been separated and detained in various custodial locations around Zurich and are now participating in Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) hearings.
Those currently being questioned are alleged to be Brazilian FA president Jose Maria Marin, Eugenio Figueredo, Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas and Rafael Esquivel.
Vice President Jeffrey Webb has already agreed to be extradited to the US and has been taken into custody by the FBI and escorted to New York where he will be brought before a judge in Brooklyn where the original charges were drawn up by the FBI.
Webb, a citizen of the Cayman Islands, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering. He has been provisionally banned from his posts at FIFA and CONCACAF, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football.
A Swiss justice official said: "The first of the seven FIFA officials being held in custody in Switzerland was extradited to the U.S. on 15 July.
The remaining ‘FIFA Six’ have contested their right to be extradited and as a consequence will now face FOJ hearings individually to assess whether they should be forcibly extradited to the USA, a process which most likely, will end up with a long drawn out appeal process.
By Paul Brown