By Simon Evans
ZURICH (Reuters) - Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan, who failed in an attempt to replace Sepp Blatter as FIFA president in May, says Blatter should not be handling the reform process at world football's scandal-hit governing body and that the task should be left to his successor.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Prince Ali, who withdrew from May's FIFA presidential election after winning 73 votes to Blatter's 133 in the first round of voting, said he feared Blatter, who has ruled the body since 1998, was trying to rush through reforms before he leaves office on February 26.
Blatter announced he would be stepping down from the presidency only days after his reelection as a corruption scandal led to mounting criticism of his leadership.
"We need a clear process, clear timelines, and a very clear remit. And all this should belong to the new president," said Prince Ali, who has yet to declare whether he will run again in February's vote.
"Although reforms are welcome and much needed, they are the mandate of the new president, not the old one.
"It is the role of the new president to put in place the necessary systems to implement the changes that FIFA so desperately needs, not a Task Force trying to rush this through in less than 60 days," he added.
FIFA was thrown into turmoil in May when nine people who were or had been soccer officials, most of whom had held positions in FIFA, and five sports marketing or broadcasting executives, were indicted in the United States on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges.
On Monday, Blatter announced FIFA was setting up a task force made up of 10 members of FIFA's six continental confederations and a 'neutral chairman'.
Sources have told Reuters that Swiss businessman Domenico Scala, who holds two other positions in FIFA, has been approached by at least three confederation heads to lead the process.
FIFA has asked for recommendations from the task force to be delivered by the next executive committee meeting in late September, a schedule that Prince Ali believes is too brief.
"How can this Task Force address change in any meaningful way within such a short timeline? There can be no quick fix to issues that are clearly structural," he said, adding that the set-up of the task force was wrong.
"Any Task Force that really will have the clout to bring about such vital reform should be a totally independent body, not from within the governance structure of FIFA."
(Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Martin Howell)