Photo of FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Prince Ali

The Prince & the Commoner:

Love at first sight


Photo of FIFA president Sepp Blatter with Prince Ali and Bin

Blatter, Bin Hammam and their boy


Still image of Prince Ali's promotional video for candidacy of new FIFA vice president

He says he loves the game [click image for video]


Photo of FIFA president Sepp Blatter with Chung and MBH

Chung gets the cold shoulder


Photo of Riot Police clubbing fans

Riot cops go for hearts and minds


The things they say...

‘Neither FIFA nor its President have anything to hide, nor do they wish to.’

Blatter press release, 28 January, 2003

BBC Panorama Reporter Andy Davies:

‘A one million franc bribe … is it not correct that Mr Blatter asked that it be moved to the FIFA official who was named on the payment slip?’

FIFA Director of Communications Markus Siegler:

‘If you do not stop now, then we call the security and we put you out.’

FIFA Press conference, Zurich, Tuesday, 11 April 2006

‘I am deputy chairman of the finance committee of FIFA. I oversee a budget of US$2 billion and I have never seen one iota of corruption.’

Jack Warner, Trinidad Express 12 December 2004

‘Lying and deception and bad faith are standard operating procedure at FIFA.’

Adam C. Silverstein, a lawyer for MasterCard in their successful action against FIFA, New York, December 1, 2006

‘I do not believe a Jew can ever be a referee at that level (Argentine Premier League) because it’s hard work and, you know, Jews don’t like hard work.’

FIFA senior vice-president and chair of Finance Committee, Julio Grondona, 5 July 2003. Buenos Aires

‘FIFA is a healthy, clean and transparent organisation with nothing to hide. There is huge public interest in FIFA, therefore we have to be as transparent as possible. We will try to communicate in a more open way so the world can believe us and be proud of their federation.’

FIFA General Secretary Urs Linsi, January 2003, on


Blatter wants Prince Who? to be new FIFA boss


By Andrew Jennings


Sunday January 2, 2011


Tiny Qatar, victors of the opaque contest to host the World Cup in 2022, will be the venue on Thursday for Sepp Blatter’s next manoeuvre to tighten his chokehold on FIFA.


Blatter has been infuriated for the past decade by the independent-minded Korean FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon and his frequent threats to launch a challenge for the presidency.


Blatter has never had the courage to confront billionaire Chung, a member of the family controlling the Hyundai conglomerate. Now he has found his Trojan pony, an Arab princeling, and he’s running him at the congress of the Asian Football Confederation this week.


It smells like a deal done in the Doha souk. Blatter steered 2022 to Qatar – in return the gas-rich, money-no-object statelet does the ‘persuading’ to enlist enough votes to rid their benefactor of his pestilent adversary.


The wannabe FIFA veep is Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan. He’s 35, a Sandhurst-trained chap who appears to have been passed over for the chance to join other sporty royals at the International Olympic Committee.


(The truth is, Ali made his move too late. His sister Princess Haya bint Al Hussein made it on to the IOC in 2007 and his elder brother Prince Faisal bin Al Hussein joined in 2010.

              Other neighbouring Gulf royals on the IOC include Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Nawaf Faisal Fahd Abdulaziz and Kuwait’s Prince Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.)


Prince Ali, president of the 13-strong West Asian football federation, has opted instead to be elevated to FIFA’s elite. There’s 46 Asia-wide votes available and topping his list of election pledges is the exciting idea of a regional professional women’s league.




Practically, that may be a step too far for some of his sponsors – principally Yemen, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates who according to, currently don’t employ a national women’s coach. Neither does World Cup winner Qatar and in Saudi a leading religious scholar condemns the game because it ‘could damage a girl's hymen.’ How does he know?


We’d all pay good money to attend a public debate, a sideshow at the Asian congress, between this uniquely qualified sports gynaecologist and Herr Blatter putting his well-known argument that women footballers should play in tight shorts, the better to display – and so commercialise - their buttocks.


Check out Prince Ali’s YouTube video. Some might find it unconvincing. His managers never give him the chance to speak more than a few words without abrupt picture changes, giving the unfair impression that he can’t easily manage a stand-alone sentence.


The Prince’s manifesto can also be confusing. ‘I continue to believe in the power of unity to develop football’ he tells us but whatever this may be a continuation of – or what it actually means - his proposal for an easy-to-access development fund is bound to be popular.


Back in the sandpit, Blatter has been determined to rid himself of Chung since 2002 when the Korean accused him of ‘arrogance’ because the FIFA president won’t reveal what he pays himself. The animosity boiled over again this autumn when horrified staff in FIFA House listened at the President’s door as Chung shouted about the ISL bribes scandal.



Prince Ali says he wants ‘transparency, openness and integrity’ at FIFA so I’ve emailed to ask if, elected or not, he will agitate to have Herr Blatter’s salary and perks extracted from FIFA’s list of state secrets and made public – and I’m hoping that one day he will make the time to get back to me.


I’d be happier trusting Prince Ali to fill one of FIFA’s most important positions if he’d announce plans to refer the scandal of the $100 million dollars in kickbacks for World Cup contracts, that I revealed in a BBC Panorama programme a few weeks ago, to their Ethics Committee. The IOC is on the case – can FIFA be far behind?


Prince Ali makes much of his devotion to youth but many young Jordanians are unsure after cops gave a good clubbing to 250 of them following disturbances three weeks ago at a top league game in Amman. A reporter who tried to photograph injured fans was himself beaten up and arrested.


If the plan dreamed up by Blatter and Qatar’s executive committee member Mohamed bin Hammam to replace Chung with the young prince succeeds it will put the control of Asian football firmly in the Gulf and remote from the rest of the vast region.


But if Chung survives he may launch a bare-knuckle fight to oust Blatter at FIFA’s congress at the end of May.



Sunday Herald

Secret Deals in Doha and Blatter's Trojan pony

The Melbourne Age

Blatter's princely ally may end feud


Image of the Dagbladet logo which links to the Danish newspaper's website

Stinker av hestehandel

Her er FIFA-boss Blatters hemmelige plan


Beijing Fazhi Evening News


Blatter to Fix AFC Elections, reveals Anti-corruption Vanguard