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FIFA candidate Prince Ali says violence shouldn't force soccer games out of countries


LONDON — Violence should not force teams to play matches outside their home countries, FIFA presidential candidate said Wednesday.

Jordan, whose federation is headed by Prince Ali, has staged recent home games for the Palestinian national team after FIFA ruled that the West Bank was not safe.

But Prince Ali points to how there have been no similar moves to stop playing in France following last week's deadly rampage in Paris where the Stade de France was targeted by suicide bombers as the national team played Germany. Top-level French domestic league will resume this weekend following the international break.

"As we have seen in the last few days because of a horrible incident that happens you do not take (soccer) away from a country," Prince Ali said at a media briefing in London. "Nobody would debate whether France can host a game tomorrow and that should not be the case in other countries in the world."

The prince was at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday for France's game against England when tributes were paid to the Paris victims.

"Out of principle you do not let violence succeed in any way regardless of where ever you are in the world," the former FIFA vice president said.

The Palestinian soccer federation earlier this month said its government had accepted a FIFA decision to move a home World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia to Jordan under pressure.

"I support playing in the West Bank and I support playing in any country in the world that can host (games)," Prince Ali said. "Before I have supported playing in Iraq ... I would have liked for (the Palestinian game) to be played in Palestine — it wasn't."

A new round of Israeli-Palestinian confrontations erupted last month, and the West Bank has been the scene of repeated clashes between Palestinian stone-throwers and Israeli troops.

Prince Ali is one of five candidates seeking to succeed as FIFA president in the Feb. 26 election. The Jordanian royal was beaten by Blatter in the May election before Blatter decided to hastily curtail his fifth term.

"I am very confident in our national associations," the prince said. "I can see they feel a weight has been lifted off their shoulders."

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