Prince Ali bin al-Hussein’s lawyers have moved to have the FIFA presidential election suspended.
Prince Ali’s legal representatives have made an official request to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to postpone the event because of fears over voting arrangements.
CAS confirmed: “We have registered an appeal and request for urgent provisional measures filed by Prince Ali Al Hussein.
“FIFA has been invited to file written observations in reply to Prince Ali’s request. The request for provisional measures will be decided by CAS no later than the morning of Thursday 25 February.”
Al-Hussein’s chief concern is that “middle men” are offering money to the 209 member associations to vote for different candidates.
Al-Hussein wants transparent voting booths used at the congress, but this request was rejected by FIFA, while there have also been suggestions he has asked voters to take a picture of their voting card for proof.
Al-Hussein’s second concern is that two of the candidates, UEFA’s Gianni Infantino and the Asian Football Confederation’s Sheik Salman, are backed by their own associations.
They will therefore have more of their own people accredited and present at the Zurich congress, and Al-Hussein is concerned these people will try to cajole the 209 voters to vote for their men.
Al-Hussein’s third complaint is that Infantino, the second favourite to win behind Sheik Salman, has admitted he has been talking to Michel Platini – the suspended FIFA president – on the phone, and that it is breaking election rules.
In a statement, Al-Hussein’s lawyers said: “FIFA opposed our request for an accelerated procedure so that these questions could be decided before February 26. It was therefore natural that Prince Ali goes to the CAS (on Monday).”
Sky Sports News HQ’s chief news reporter Kaveh Solhekol, reporting from Zurich, said: “Prince Ali has become more forthright in the last couple of weeks but, to be honest, there is not much chance of the election being suspended.
“Prince Ali and his lawyers do not think the election is going to free or fair, but a lot of people feel this is an act of desperation on his part.”
Al-Hussein, Sheikh Salman and Infantino are joined by Tokyo Sexwale and Jerome Champagne on the ballot.
Sheikh Salman of Bahrain is considered the favourite having gained the support of both the Asian Football Confederation, of which he is president, and the Confederation of African Football.
Infantino has received the backing of UEFA, including the English FA.
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