Sports court rejects Prince Ali’s FIFA vote protest

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FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, pictured on December 19, 2015, said the global governing body would be heading for a new "catastrophe" if it doesn't elect the right candidate to succeed Blatter (AFP Photo/Toru Yamanaka)

FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, pictured on December 19, 2015, said the global governing body would be heading for a new “catastrophe” if it doesn’t elect the right candidate to succeed Blatter (AFP Photo/Toru Yamanaka)

ZURICH, February 24 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Wednesday rejected a protest from FIFA presidential hopeful Prince Ali bin al Hussein, which aimed to force FIFA to use transparent voting booths at its congress election.

The Jordanian prince, one of five people vying to replace Sepp Blatter, said he went to the Lausanne-based court to guarantee FIFA members the freedom to vote for their preferred candidate.

He has said transparent voting booths would ensure that delegates do not take pictures of their ballots, a move required by certain regional confederations as proof of loyalty to a specific candidate, according to Prince Ali.

The prince asked CAS to invoke urgent provisional measures and force FIFA to use the transparent booths, which he purchased and flew to Zurich.

If FIFA could not be forced to use the booths, Prince Ali wanted CAS to suspend the vote.

“The request for provisional measures has been rejected,” a CAS statement said. His call for a postponement “is now moot”, it added.

“I regret that the system let us down,” the Jordanian royal said in a statement.

“I advocated for transparent voting booths on behalf of (association) Presidents who want to vote their conscience, without worrying that someone with a different agenda is looking over their shoulder,” he further said.

The prince said his exposure of the voting booth issue would lead to closer media scrutiny of the polling process and called for a ban on the use of mobile phones in booths to be respected.

Some of the glass booths purchased by the prince were displayed at Zurich’s airport on Wednesday.

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