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Prince Ali invites Kofi Annan to lead new FIFA reform group

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

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan said he would set up an independent oversight group led by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan if elected.

A statement on Thursday by Prince Ali's campaign organisers said the group would "help steer FIFA through its first year to recover from crisis and to support the future reform process."

Football's world ruling body is engulfed in a graft scandal that has led to the indictment of several dozen leading football officials in the United States, and is under enormous pressure to reform.

Prince Ali is one of five candidates standing to replace outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter, himself banned for eight years for ethics violations, in the Feb. 26 election.

Last year, campaign group New FIFA Now also called for Annan to be put in charge of an independent reform commission.

Thursday's statement said Prince Ali had already discussed the idea with Annan.

It said the group would focus on governance issues "with the goal of stabilising an organisation in crisis."

In the longer term, it would turn its attention to FIFA's development policies, and advise on aspects of the sport such as the expansion of the World Cup and combating match-fixing.

"The FIFA Oversight Group ...is an essential element to revive FIFA’s reputation and restore it to what it should be – a service organisation for football," said Prince Ali.

"Having the commitment of a group of people with such impeccable credentials, unquestioned integrity and global standing represents an unprecedented response to the unprecedented crisis sweeping FIFA."

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by John Stonestreet)

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