U.S. Soccer to vote for Prince Ali of Jordan for FIFA president
The United States Soccer Federation will vote for Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan in Friday's FIFA election.
Prince Ali, the Jordan Football Association president, lost to Sepp Blatter in last year's election and this year is seen as a distant third to front-runners Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Gianni Infantino.
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati announced the federation's choice on Twitter, writing:
Prince Ali then thanked the U.S. in a post of his own.
Prince Ali spent four years in the FIFA inner sanctum as a vice president until May, but he has been the most outspoken of the five candidates about the governing body's culture, criminality and damaged status.
Prince Ali complained to FIFA about a cooperation deal between the African federation, headed by acting FIFA President Issa Hayatou, and Salman's Asia. Hayatou quickly relinquished some of his Confederation of African Football powers.
The prince also launched a late, failed bid to get transparent booths used in the secret vote on Friday.
FIFA ELECTION COVERAGE ON ESPN
- Feb. 22-26, 1:30 p.m. ET (ESPN): Outside the Lines
- Feb. 23-26; 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2): ESPN FC
- Feb. 26, 7 a.m. ET (ESPN2): SportsCenter
- LIVE on ESPN3: Feb. 26, from 2 a.m. ET
The 40-year-old denied Blatter a first-round victory in last May's head-to-head election before standing aside for the incumbent. But Ali's 73 votes were mostly gathered from European federations who now back Infantino.
Each member association of FIFA will cast its votes for the successor to dethroned FIFA president Blatter in Zurich on Friday. There are 209 members who have a vote, but Kuwait and Indonesia are currently suspended and cannot participate in the election.
A two-thirds majority is required for victory in the opening round; in subsequent rounds more than 50 percent of the vote is needed, with the candidate receiving the lowest number of votes dropping out.
The U.S. choice does not represent a bloc of votes from North America, as Canada announced they would support Infantino, the UEFA general secretary.
"One, we felt that he was really the candidate that could truly embrace the reforms that will be passed and actually implement them as a leader," CSA president Victor Montagliani told The Canadian Press.
"Secondly we believe that Gianni, out of all the candidates, really has what we feel is an intimate knowledge of football and the business of football. And I think what needs to come back to FIFA is football, and we feel Gianni reflects those values. And I think his track record is incomparable to the rest of them, quite frankly.
"He has guided in the last nine years or so the most successful confederation in the world, and I think that's a résumé you can't ignore."