ZURICH (AP) Delaying the FIFA presidential election would further discredit the scandal-hit governing body and deepen the instability, contender Prince Ali bin al-Hussein said Wednesday.
FIFA's executive committee could decide at a meeting next week to postpone the scheduled Feb. 26 poll, a delay which could assist Michel Platini if the suspended UEFA president is later cleared of wrongdoing by the global body's ethics committee.
Platini was provisionally banned on Thursday along with FIFA President Sepp Blatter at least 90 days, pending the outcome of an investigation into a 2011 payment to the former France captain.
FIFA is under the temporary leadership of Issa Hayatou, who is due to arrive this week at the Zurich headquarters for the first time since becoming acting president.
Prince Ali of Jordan warned that ''with FIFA's crisis deepening'' it needs an accountable, elected president not an interim leader.
''Delaying the scheduled election would only postpone needed change and create further instability,'' the prince said in a statement from Amman. ''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.''
Prince Ali, who was a FIFA vice president for four years until May, was Blatter's only challenger in the May election that saw the 79-year-old Swiss returned for a fifth therm. Blatter announced his resignation plans four days later as the severity of the U.S. criminal investigations into FIFA officials magnified and sponsors stepped up criticism.
FIFA's executive committee ''should not interfere with an ongoing process that was put in place by the ad hoc electoral committee,'' Prince Ali said.
''The election date of February 26 was set three months ago with a clear procedure that meets all of FIFA's statutory requirements,'' the Jordanian Football Association president added. ''Candidates have had plenty of time to declare and still do. The rules should not be changed after the game has started.''
European soccer leaders will meet on Thursday at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland to discuss the crisis that has seen their president temporarily banned from any role in football. Platini had initially been the favorite to replace Blatter in February, but UEFA executives will explore whether to endorse a new European candidate for the presidential election.
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