by Rob Shepherd.
Luis Figo is serious about challenging Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.
Unlike David Ginola’s PR stunt – backed and paid for by a bookie – Figo has serious people around him.
Despite only announcing his intention to stand at the start of the week, within two days he met the FIFA criteria of getting the five nominations required to canvas ahead of the vote at the end of May.
Indeed, Figo claims he has six executives in member countries standing. But Figo and other candidates still await approval to stand against Blatter who is seeking fifth term in charge. The deadline for FIFA presidency nominations has passed and the wait is on to see if Blatter will serve a fifth term in the role.
FIFA’s three-man Ad Hoc Electoral Committee, chaired by Domenico Scala, now has the task of sifting through the nominations and deciding who will appear on the ballot paper.
The FA has formally nominated Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein as a candidate to stand against Blatter. Former FIFA executive Jerome Champagne is also hoping to gain the five nominations required to be in contention. Dutchman Michael van Praag is another.
It remains to be seen when Champagne or Van Praag may join forces with Figo who has powerful support from the football world.
I met Figo in Madrid just before Christmas in his capacity as an ambassador of the Network 90 – a new global football social media and networking platform. One of the issues that most concerns Figo is that FIFA has become a byword for corruption and the negative effect that has had on football. He also told me about his concerns about the World Cup being staged in Qatar in 2022.
The 42-year-old former Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan star is not oblivious to politics within football. After he ended his playing days he spent four years working as Inter’s international ambassador.
Figo has immediately gained the support of powerful football voices such as Chelsea boss and fellow Portuguese Jose Mourinho: ‘Luis Figo’s candidacy is a great step forward for football. His career over many years guarantees a better future for FIFA.
‘I believe in his character and determination as well as his passion for the game. He will be a president focussed on football and its general improvement, acting closely with all.’
The FIFA committee will now assess each candidate to make sure they meet all the criteria, including whether they have five association nominations and have participated in the game for two of the last five years.
They must also ensure each candidate has not broken any FIFA ethics rules. FIFA will announce the new president at their Zurich headquarters on May 29.
Luis Figo declaration to stand for election as the next FIFA president has injected life and colour into the process.
But William Hills are convinced Sepp Blatter will be re-elected for a fifth term. So much so his currently odds on at 1/6.
Hill’s doubt Figo’s chances offering 16/1 behind Jerome Champagne who is 12/1. Michael van Praag is 25/1.