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FIFA Rejects Demand for Transparent Voting Booths - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Jordanian Prince Ali bin al-Hussein discusses the FIFA corruption scandal at the National Press Club in Washington December 4, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Jordanian Prince Ali bin al-Hussein discusses the FIFA corruption scandal at the National Press Club in Washington December 4, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

FIFA has rejected a demand from a presidential candidate to use transparent voting booths at next week’s election to make sure that delegates do not photograph their ballot papers when they choose the head of soccer’s world ruling body.

The request came from Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, who has contacted the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), sport’s highest tribunal after his request was turned down by Domenico Scala, FIFA’s presidential commission chief.

“Only a transparent booth can prove that each voter is following his heart and conscience and that there are no forced votes by preventing voters taking photos of their voting paper to prove that they’d followed voting instructions,” AFP cited Renaud Semerdjian, one of Prince Ali’s lawyers.

Prince Ali wanted to ensure that transparent booths were used at the Feb. 26 election “to safeguard the full transparency of the electoral proceedings”, his lawyer added in a statement.

FIFA’s 209 member national associations (FAs) each hold one vote at the election where Prince Ali is among five candidates standing to replace outgoing President Sepp Blatter, who is banned for eight years amid a graft scandal that has shaken soccer’s global governing body. Under FIFA statutes, voting is secret.

The statement said Domenico Scala, head of FIFA’s electoral committee, had admitted to Prince Ali in correspondence that the voters could produce evidence of their vote by using a mobile phone.

Scala has rejected transparent booths, however, saying that voters will not be allowed to enter the voting booth next Friday with their mobile phones.

“Voters can have their mobiles in the congress hall but must leave them behind when they go to vote. They will be forbidden from transmitting any visual image during the voting process,” assured the spokesperson.

“He (Scala) has said it is enough just to tell them they must not do so, and has rejected Prince Ali’s request to use transparent voting booths,” the statement said.

Jerome Champagne, another presidential candidate, said this week that FAs were under pressure to vote for certain candidates and some had been asked to provide evidence of their vote.

Prince Ali has also said that FAs face retaliations if they fail to tow certain political lines.

“Development projects mysteriously stall; tournament hosting bids are suddenly compromised or withdrawn; national teams start to mysteriously face less favorable fixtures or and even referees,” he said last week.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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