The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected Fifa presidential candidate Prince Ali's request to introduce transparent voting booths and independent scrutineers to the procedure ahead of the latest election on 26 February.
The Jordanian royal, who lost out to Sepp Blatter in May 2015 before the governing body's well-documented corruption scandal led to calls for significant widespread reform, was hoping the changes would be made in order to "safeguard the integrity of the voting process and to ensure that the vote is conducted in secret" amid fears that individuals could record their choice. Such a request was initially opposed by Fifa, leading to Ali's lawyers appealing to have the election itself postponed.
"The Court of Arbitration for Sport has today issued its decision on the urgent request for provisional measures filed by HRH Prince Ali Al Hussein of Jordan," CAS confirmed in an official media release. "The request for provisional measures has been rejected by the president of the CAS Appeals Arbitration Division. The full order with grounds will be communicated in a few days."
On the request to postpone proceedings altogether, they added: "In addition, HRH Prince Ali Al Hussein also asked for the Fifa presidential election to be postponed in the event that CAS could not rule on the request for provisional measures before the election, but this request is now moot."
Responding to that decision, Prince Ali expressed his regret and urged representatives from the 209 member associations to adhere to the ban on recording devices while casting their vote. He said: "My central point throughout the campaign has been the honesty and integrity of the election, principles worth fighting for.
"I advocated for transparent voting booths on behalf of FA presidents who want to vote their conscience, without worrying that someone with a different agenda is looking over their shoulder. I fought for them at Fifa and at CAS, and brought transparent booths to Zurich to eliminate any excuse for not using them.
"I have done all I can. I regret that the system let us down. The only positive aspect of today's ruling is it that the election will now go forward as planned, and the media will be closely watching for any evidence that anyone is photographing their ballot. It is now imperative that voters abide by the ban on mobile phones and cameras in the voting booth. I look forward to Friday's vote and remain as committed as ever to the goal of reforming Fifa."
Prince Ali is one of five men hoping to be named as Blatter's successor during the 'extraordinary' meeting of congress at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland. Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chairman Sheikh Salman, former Fifa executive Jerome Champagne and South Africa's Tokyo Sexwale are the other hopefuls.