Prince Ali says FIFA arrests a 'sad day' for soccer

ZURICH (Reuters) - Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, the man challenging Sepp Blatter for the most powerful job in world soccer, said he was saddened by the latest corruption scandal involving the sport's governing body FIFA.

Prince Ali issued a brief statement on Wednesday following the news that six high-ranking soccer officials, including two FIFA vice-presidents, had been arrested by Swiss police and detained pending extradition to the United States.

"Today is a sad day for football," Prince Ali said.

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice said the arrested officials were suspected by U.S. investigators of having received or paid bribes amounting to millions of dollars.

The timing could not have come at a worse time for Blatter, who is being challenged by Prince Ali for the FIFA presidency.

Blatter is attempting to secure a fifth term at the helm despite widespread criticism of his leadership during a period when the sport has been dogged by allegations of corruption.

Encouraged to stand against Blatter by colleagues disenchanted with the Swiss administrator, Prince Ali has vowed to clean up the sport if elected.

The vote will take place during the FIFA Congress on Friday with Blatter widely tipped to win.

It remains to be seen whether Wednesday's latest scandal will have an impact on the ballot and Prince Ali was reluctant to speculate.

"Clearly this is a developing story, the details of which are still emerging," the Jordanian said.

"It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time."

(Writing by Julian Linden in Singapore; Editing by John O'Brien)