Mario Balotelli’s agent has announced he could run for the FIFA presidency.
Italian Mino Raiola, who also represents players including Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, has been a long-time critic of the current FIFA regime and has proposed himself as a candidate to take on Sepp Blatter.
Raiola will need the support of five national associations, and to show a sustained active involvement in the game, to be able to formally enter the race.
He told Sky Sports News: “I think FIFA has lost its identity and become closed. FIFA is there for football fans around the world but it’s lost the sympathy of the public.
“It has a responsibility to millions of people around the world but at the moment it’s like a one-man show. It’s difficult to change it from the outside because those on the inside aren’t interested in changing the system.
“If I do run for the presidency, because it’s still a doubt, then my plan is fairly simple; I want to reform FIFA 360 degrees and make it a modern, transparent, democratic organisation, with a clear idea of what it is and what it should do.”
He added: “A lot of people talk and say Blatter is ruining FIFA, and I agree with that, but I don’t see anyone getting up and saying: ’Let’s work. Let’s try to change it’.”
FIFA’s eligibility rules on standing for its presidency state: “The candidate shall have played an active role in association football as a board member, committee member, referee and assistant referee, coach, trainer and any other person responsible for technical, medical or administrative matters in FIFA, a confederation, association, league or club or as a player) for two of the last five years before being proposed as a candidate.
“The candidate shall present declarations of support from at least five member associations.”
Raiola said: “Whether I am eligible is one of the points that are still discussable. My lawyers think yes, some other people think no.
“I think I have the support of five members but the rules say you have to be a member of an association for a longer time and have had a function there.”
Blatter, 78, has been in office since 1998.
Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, a member of FIFA’s executive committee and a vice-president of the world governing body, has said he will stand against Blatter. Former FIFA deputy secretary general Jerome Champagne also insists he remains intent on running for office, while former France footballer David Ginola has also launched a campaign.
Candidates for the FIFA presidency must secure five nominations from national associations by January 29, with the election taking place on May 29.