Figo to stand for FIFA presidency

Figo to stand for FIFA presidency

Luis Figo has announced he will stand against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency.

The 42-year-old former Portugal international and world footballer of the year is understood to already have the minimum five nominations.

Figo said in an interview with CNN: “I care about football so what I’m seeing regarding the image of FIFA – not only now but in the past years – I don’t like it.

“If you search FIFA on the internet you see the first word that comes out: scandal, not positive words. It’s that we have to change first and try to improve the image of FIFA. Football deserves much better than this.

“I’ve been talking with so many important people in football – players, managers, president of federations – and they all think that something has to be done.

“Last year was the World Cup, I was in Brazil and I saw the reaction of all the fans regarding the image of FIFA and I think something has to be changed. Change in leadership, governance, transparency and solidarity, so I think it’s the moment for that.”

There should now be at least four candidates in the contest after nominations close on Friday.

As well as Blatter and Figo, Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and Dutch FA president Michael van Praag are also standing.

The Scottish Football Association has confirmed it will be one of the five national associations that will nominate Van Praag, a fierce critic of Blatter’s. Van Praag will confirm the others involved at a news conference in Amsterdam later on Wednesday.

An SFA spokesman told Press Association Sport: “We can confirm that the Scottish FA are one of the five associations nominating Mr Van Praag.”

Figo, who has served on the UEFA Football Committee from 2011 to 2015, issued a statement saying he will run a campaign for change, focusing on ``better governance, more transparency, increased solidarity and the protection of true football values''.

From the working class suburbs of Lisbon, Figo went on to make 577 appearances for Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Internazionale. He also captained Portugal at the 2006 FIFA World Cup during an international career in which he won 127 caps – making him Portugal’s most capped player.

Figo added: “I am convinced that FIFA’s position as the governing body of world football is absolutely vital. For this to be preserved it is essential that we see change at the top and we set FIFA on a new course which is all about football and less about politics.

“This is why I am looking forward to getting on the road in the coming weeks, to explain in detail my programme and my vision. My aim is to nourish my plans with the insights and ideas of the national associations, to listen to their concerns and to provide a forum for a new approach to FIFA which is focused on FIFA’s stakeholders rather than just FIFA.

“Football runs through my veins. I am a man of football, inside out and I am ready to help bring about change.”

Prince Ali is expected to be nominated by the Football Association – FA chairman Greg Dyke is understood to have offered the association’s backing to Prince Ali and discussions have taken place between FA board members ahead of a meeting on Thursday after which it is expected to be formally announced.

The FA board’s view is that the more reformist candidates who enter the contest the better.

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