Canada will not vote for Sepp Blatter for FIFA president

Canada will not vote for beleaguered incumbent Sepp Blatter in Friday's presidential vote at the FIFA Congress.

'The organization needs a definite change'

The President of the Canadian Soccer Association, Victor Montagliani, said Thursday that Canada will not support Sepp Blatter in the upcoming FIFA presidential election. (Cole Burston/AFP/Getty Images)

Canada will not vote for beleaguered incumbent Sepp Blatter in Friday's presidential vote at the FIFA Congress.

Victor Montagliani, president of the Canadian Soccer Association, says Canada will cast its ballot for the only other candidate — Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.

Montagliani says Canada cannot support the current political leadership of FIFA.

"The organization needs a definite change, a refresh," Montagliani told The Canadian Press from Zurich. "And I think we need to govern the game in a better way.

"And this is also a comment to the FIFA Executive Committee. It's not just about one person. The game deserves better. Period."

Montagliani said the decision not to support Blatter was finalized at a Canadian Soccer Association board meeting Thursday.

The Canadian soccer boss says the U.S. Soccer Federation has come to the same conclusion and will vote the same way. UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, is also supporting Prince Ali, Asia's vice-president on the FIFA executive committee.

Montagliani says reforms in world soccer have to be done quickly and in transparent fashion.

FIFA was rocked this week by a string of indictments from the U.S. Department of Justice. CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, was front and centre in the alleged corruption.

CONCACAF moved Thursday to reorganize.

Montagliani was named to a special CONCACAF committee charged with "evaluating and sustaining" all of the confederation's business operations of the wake of FIFA's mushrooming corruption scandal.

Montagliani is joined on the committee by Justino Compean, president of the Mexican Soccer Federation and Sunil Gulati, president of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

CONCACAF's Executive Committee has "provisionally dismissed" president Jeffrey Webb and Eduardo Li and named senior vice-president Alfredo Hawit as CONCACAF president.

Webb, a FIFA vice-president from the Cayman Islands, and Li, head of the Costa Rican football federation, are facing charges that carry up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Julio Rocha of Nicaragua was also indicted.

Jack Warner, a former CONCACAF president and FIFA vice-president from Trinidad and Tobago, was also arrested.

FIFA suspended 11 people, including Webb, from all soccer-related activities.

Montagliani, who said he will respect the due process of the legal system, believed CONCACAF had made strides since another scandal four years ago. So the new corruption allegations came as "a complete shock .... and utter disappointment."

"I don't think disappointment is even the right word for it. It's much more that disappointment," Montagliani said in his first public comments on the current FIFA scandal. "There's absolutely zero room and zero tolerance for this kind of stuff in the game."

Montagliani says he doesn't know how Blatter will fare Friday.

"We're not making this decision because we think he's going to win or lose. We're making this decision because I think quite frankly as Canadians it's in our DNA to make correct decisions when it comes to these kind of things. And as a Canadian I think we're making the right decision. Our organization needs to continue to keep making these kind of decisions."

Montagliani was elected president of the CSA in 2012, one year after Blatter ran unopposed.

The native of Burnaby, B.C., was a CSA vice-president for three terms, and has been a member of its executive committee since 2005. He was appointed to FIFA's Legal Committee in 2012. One of 27 standing committees, it analyses basic legal issues relating to football and the evolution of FIFA's statutes and regulations.

Montagliani is joined at the FIFA Congress by CSA board member Charmaine Crooks and vice-president Steven Reed.