Challenger to FIFA presidency says soccer needs leadership change

Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who is running for FIFA president, says soccer is suffering from leadership crisis

Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who is running against incumbent Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency, says Wednesday's arrests of top soccer officials underlines the need for new leadership within the organization.

In a statement, al-Hussein said FIFA is suffering from a leadership crisis that has damaged the confidence soccer fans have in the sport's governing body.

"FIFA needs leadership that governs, guides and protects our national associations," al-Hussein said. "Leadership that restores confidence in the hundreds of millions of football fans around the world."

He went on to say that "we cannot continue with the crisis in FIFA."

Al-Hussein is considered an underdog to win Friday's scheduled FIFA presidential election. Blatter has served as FIFA president since 1998 and is the heavy favorite to win a fifth term.

FIFA announced the election is still scheduled to take place Friday despite seven of the organization's members being arrested by Swiss authorities at the group's annual conference in Zurich, Switzerland, on U.S. corruption charges.

"It's a sad day for football," al-Hussein said shortly after the arrests were made.

Although FIFA said the election will take place as scheduled, the head of Europe's soccer body is considering calling for a postponement of the election. The UEFA has previously expressed its support for al-Hussein in the election.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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