On Thursday at Wembley Stadium in London, Portuguese legend Luis Figo revealed his manifesto as he aims to become the new president of FIFA when the vote is held in May.
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Figo, 42, revealed plenty of wide-ranging proposals with perhaps the most radical being an expanded World Cup which could see up to 48 teams compete in the competition.
The former Real Madrid and Barcelona winger — who is challenging current FIFA president Sepp Blatter as he seeks to gain a fifth-straight four-year term as the leading man at world soccer’s governing body — proposed increasing the current 32-team format of the World Cup to 40 teams. Plus another radical idea was to organize two separate World Cup tournaments of 24 teams on two different continents, followed by a knockout competition in a different country to decide the winner.
Other candidates trying to usurp Blatter include current FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin al-Hussein and Dutch football association chairman Michael van Praag. Interestingly, Figo revealed that he is personally funding his entire campaign and has no other backers apart from the Portuguese FA helping with logistics.
Figo has the highest profile of the four candidates but can he win over the 209 federations across the world to vote for him in the elections in Zurich on May 29? Blatter already has the South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania confederations backing his bid. However the likes of Jose Mourinho and David Beckham are backing Figo to take charge, as the former World Player of the Year in 2001 has officially got his presidential campaign up and running.
He also touched on the following subjects with the assembled media:
- Figo wants Mourinho and Beckham to get involved
- Has proposed a return to the old offside rule, irrespective of being involved in the play
- On Qatar World Cup: “If there are no irregularities proven I don’t think Qatar should be prejudiced”
- Setting up a “football council” where ex-players, coaches would help FIFA’s ExCo make decisions
- Wants to have trials for “sin bins” where players are removed temporarily after dissent to referees
- Figo wants to spread FIFA’s $2.5 billion revenue over four years to associations to fund grassroots
- Proposes redistribution of $1 billion of FIFA’s $1.5 billion cash reserves to 209 federations