Portugal legend Luis Figo has become a shock candidate to run against Sepp Blatter for FIFA presidency.
The former Real Madrid star released a statement in a television interview with CNN on Wednesday revealing that he has the required five letters of support from FIFA member associations needed to run.
Figo, who served on Uefa’s football committee from 2011-2015, also meets the stipulation of needing an active role in football for two of the last 5 years, holding a position at Inter and in the Portuguese national set up.
The 42-year-old joins David Ginola, Jerome Champagne, Prince Ali of Jordan and Michael van Praag challenging Blatter for FIFA presidency.
All candidates must register their interest in standing before thursday’s deadline and must pass an anti-corruption test.
Dismayed by the shadow that accusations of Fifa corruption has cast, Figo told CNN: “I care about football, so what I’m seeing regarding the image of FIFA - not only now but in past years - I don’t like it.”
“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 change.”
“Change in leadership, governance, transparency and solidarity, so i think it’s the moment for that.”
No one is untouchable
It is unlikely that Blatter will be removed from power any time soon. With the increase in candidates challenging the current President, the anti-Blatter vote will be split, adding solidarity to his re-election campaign.
However Figo believes that he has a chance. “I think no one is untouchable in this life. If you think like that you are wrong.”
“Of course [Blatter] is a person that is running the organisation for so long. I can say for me it is a fantastic challenge to try and convince people to follow me and support me.”
Figo said that the fallout over Michael Garcia’s report into the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup has invigorated his desire to run for presidency.
“After the report was published I think that was the moment of change and the moment I though something had to be done,” said Figo. “If it came from Fifa to order that report and after that you don’t publish, it is not a good decision.”
The Ballon d’or winner stated that his love for the game and giving back in ample measure played a part in his decision to stand, “I love football. Football runs through my veins. I am a man of football, inside out and I am ready to help bring about change.”
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