Fifa have rejected a demand from a presidential candidate to use transparent voting booths at Friday’s presidential election to ensure delegates do not photograph their ballot papers.
The request came from Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, who said he would take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, sport’s highest tribunal. The Jordanian candidate wanted to “safeguard the full transparency of the electoral proceedings”, he said through his lawyer.
Fifa’s 209 national associations each hold one vote and Prince Ali is among five candidates standing to replace the outgoing president, Sepp Blatter, who is banned for eight years amid a scandal that has shaken football’s governing body. Under Fifa’s statutes, voting is secret.
The statement said Domenico Scala, head of Fifa’s electoral committee, had admitted to Prince Ali in correspondence that members could produce evidence of their vote by using a mobile phone. But Scala rejected transparent booths and said members will be reminded that voting is secret and told to hand over mobile phones and cameras. Voting papers will only be issued inside the booths.
“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, adding that there was an “absence of any dedicated system to detect potential violations of this rule”.
Jérôme Champagne, another candidate, has said some members were asked to provide evidence of their vote. Four of the six continental associations have nominated their preferred candidates. Members ignore these at their peril.
As Prince Ali has pointed out, those who disobey can face reprisals. “Development projects mysteriously stall, tournament hosting bids are suddenly compromised or withdrawn, national teams face less favourable fixtures or even referees. All these are effective ways to punish member associations that fail to demonstrate loyalty,” he said.