Blatter welcomes Prince Ali FIFA candidacy

FIFA president Sepp Blatter believes the challenge to his leadership from Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein will be beneficial for the organisation.

Blatter is to stand for a fifth term as president and, until earlier this week, had only one challenger in the form of FIFA's former director of international relations Jerome Champagne.

However, FIFA's vice president for Asia, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) vice-president and Jordan Football Association (JFA) president Prince Ali threw his hat into the ring on Tuesday, making the May 29 ballot a three-way fight.

Prince Ali's candidacy has received the approval of UEFA president Michel Platini and Blatter has been quick to express similar sentiments.

"I can only rejoice in this nomination. We are a democracy, and this can only be beneficial for debate," Blatter told Le Matin.

Quoting a French proverb, Blatter added: "And do not they say that to win without peril is to triumph without glory?".

However, while Blatter is pleased to have more competition for the role, the AFC will back the Swiss incumbent and not Prince Ali after agreeing to do so at their 2014 congress.

"We made a pledge in congress in Brazil that the entire Asian football family was supporting the FIFA president," AFC general secretary Dato Alex Soosay told BBC Sport.

"As Asia we should also stay together and be united rather than divided.

"But I'm not here to stop anyone from having their own rights. The election is independent and democratic.

"For us the Asian Cup is paramount and I'm sure the member associations don't want to be affected by this situation. We just want to focus on football."