The United States Soccer Federation vows to cast its ballot against Sepp Blatter as he seeks re-election as FIFA’s president today.
U.S. Soccer will vote for Prince Ali bin Al Hussein for next president of FIFA. This is a vote for good governance & promise for our game.
— Sunil Gulati (@sunilgulati) May 28, 2015
The U.S. joins the Union of European Football Associations in backing the Jordanian prince against FIFA’s king for the last 17 years. The Asian Football Confederation announced its fidelity to Blatter. The election, thought a fait accompli earlier in the week, now appears hotly contested by Blatter’s lone rival dismissed as token opposition just days ago.
The defections come in the wake of Wednesday’s raids in Zurich that scooped up more than a half dozen FIFA officials, including a vice president, on corruption charges.
Defying the Swiss soccer strongman could come at a price. The United States, which lost out to Qatar in its bid to host the 2022 World Cup, seeks to bring the event to the United States in 2026. FIFA decides the host nation in 2017, and countries taking a strong stand against Blatter risk invoking the 79-year-old’s ire should he win Friday’s vote.