Luis Figo has announced his intention to stand against Sepp Blatter for the presidency of FIFA. The legendary Portuguese footballer joins Jerome Champagne, Dutch FA chief Michael van Pragg and former France international David Ginola as a challenger to the current FIFA boss – who has been in office for the past seventeen years.
“I am worried for football and the image of FIFA,” Figo said. “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 important people in football – players, managers, presidents 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.”
The 2008 Ballon d’Or winner also referred to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively, as well as the ensuing controversy which surrounded the release of the Garcia report.
“After the Garcia report was not published I think the moment has come for change,” Figo continued. “It was that moment that I thought something has to be done. If you are transparent and you have nothing to hide, why was this report not published?”
“Publishing it was the logical thing to do if everybody has doubts over what happened. If FIFA requested the report and then didn’t publish it, it wasn’t a good decision.”
While Sepp Blatter has stated that if he is re-elected in May, this will be his last term as the head of world football’s governing body. But the current FIFA boss has made statements like this before.
“Blatter has been at FIFA for many years, since 1998, and the other candidates may be considered favorites but for me this is a great challenge,” Figo said. “There are many examples in football. You can play the strongest team or the weakest team and you never know who is going to win.”
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