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USA will vote against Sepp Blatter in FIFA presidential election

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The United States Soccer Federation will not vote for Sepp Blatter in Friday's FIFA presidential election. Instead, the American vote will be cast for Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, the only opponent to the incumbent Blatter.

USSF president Sunil Gulati, who will cast the American vote, said this plan has been in the works for months, as he began helping Prince Ali start his bid in January. He also said that he believes the vote will be closer than many expect and that he believes Blatter can be defeated.

Blatter has been under fire for years as he has overseen a FIFA that has been dragged through the mud for corruption and bribery. To this point, nobody has been able to pin any evidence on Blatter that he himself acted corruptly, but public perception is that he has enabled and encouraged it at the very least, while individuals have claimed he has been as dirty as anyone else. That all came to a head on Wednesday, when the U.S. Department of Justice indicted 14 FIFA officials for corruption and bribery.

Now the heat on Blatter is higher than it has ever been. There have been calls for FIFA to postpone the presidential election slated for Friday, but the organization has said they will do no such thing.

As for whether the U.S. will pay for voting against Blatter, Gulati has said that's a risk they are willing to take. Some have speculated that FIFA would withhold money from the U.S. or even keep them from hosting another World Cup.

"Would I like to see the United States host a World Cup in the future?" Gulati said. "The answer is, of course, yes. But for me, and for U.S. Soccer, better governance and more integrity at CONCACAF and FIFA are far more important than hosting any international soccer tournament.

"I’m sure there are some people who would disagree with that decision and would prioritize things differently. But this is how we feel, and we are doing what we think is right. If being on the right side of issues costs us from hosting a World Cup in the future, that would be unfortunate. But we are prepared to deal with that."

Prince Ali's campaign has hinged largely on reforming FIFA. Canada has pledged to also support Prince Ali, but the majority of the public statements from federations have come out in favor of Blatter.