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FIFA hits back at football spending critic


FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin al HusseinFIFA’s outgoing leadership hit back Thursday at criticism of its spending on poorer football nations by one of the potential candidates to head the world body.

Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, a former FIFA vice president considering a run to replace Sepp Blatter as president told AFP in an interview this week that the global body should be spending “a hell of a lot more” on football development.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke called the comments “quite disappointing”.

“It was also surprising, to say the least, given that he served as the deputy chairman of FIFA’s development committee from October 2011 to March 2013,” Valcke said in a statement to AFP.

“Football development is FIFA’s first pillar,” Valcke added.

“We are spending more than ever on the game around the world, redistributing resources from the FIFA World Cup into development programmes everywhere to reduce the gap between the strong and weak footballing nations.”

He said that since 1999, FIFA has provided its member associations and confederations with more than $2 billion in development funds.

FIFA now earns more than $5 billion in the four years between each World Cup and Valcke said that “development-related expenses” reached a record $1 billion for the 2011-2014 cycle. He said “strict financial controls” have been put in place by the scandal-tainted world body on how the money is spent.

Prince Ali said FIFA should be spending up to 80 percent of the money it earns on stadiums and equipment for the 209 member federations. “That’s where FIFA can serve. I think they can give a hell of a lot more back — excuse my language.”

FIFA president Sepp Blatter will stand down when a special election is held in February. The prince is considering joining the battle against UEFA leader Michel Platini, Brazilian football great Zico and Liberian football association chief Musa Bility in running for the presidency.

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