Figo latest to enter FIFA presidency race

Former Portugal international says he has the five nominations needed for an official campaign

Reuters January 28, 2015
Luis Figo joined the list of people who would be competing against Sepp Blatter for FIFA presidency. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON: Former Portugal international Luis Figo said on Wednesday he wanted to stand for the FIFA presidency revealing his plans one day before nominations close to enter the race.

The former Real Madrid and Barcelona forward announced his intention to run against incumbent Sepp Blatter in an interview with CNN and said he had the five nominations needed for an official campaign.

Figo, 42, was twice voted World Player of the Year and played for Portugal 127 times.

"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," he said.

Figo is the latest to throw his hat in the ring alongside Blatter, Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, former FIFA official Jerome Champagne of France, ex-France international David Ginola, Michael Van Praag, president of the Dutch FA and Mino Raiola, an Italian-Dutch football agent.

Speaking about his campaign, Figo said: "Football has given me so much during my life and I want to give something back to the game. I look at the reputation of FIFA right now and I don't like it. Football deserves better.

"In recent weeks, months, and even years, I have seen the image of FIFA deteriorate and as I speak to many people in football – to players, managers and Association Presidents – so many of those people have told me that something has to be done.

"Throughout my career I have worked at all levels of the game. This has given me a unique insight and understanding that I feel can enhance the discussion about the future of FIFA and the future of football."

In his 20-year playing career Figo made nearly 800 appearances for Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan and played a record 127 times for Portugal scoring 32 goals.

Figo, who has served on the UEFA Football Committee since 2011, 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."


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