LISBON: Perceptions that the main opposition to Sepp Blatter’s continuance as FIFA president is European has come from surprise late candidate Luis Figo.
The former Portugal captain followed up earlier this week on earlier European declarations of intent from ex-FIFA official Jerome Champagne and Dutch federation president Michael Van Praag. The only ‘outsider’ is FIFA’s Asian vice-president Prince Ali of Jordan.
Figo, in confirming his challenge to Blatter who wants a fifth term in office, revealed he had submitted six formal nominations from the football federations of his own Portugal as well as Denmark, Montenegro, Macedonia, Luxembourg and Poland.
Figo said: “I am very happy to confirm that my six nominations were delivered to FIFA this week ahead of the deadline.
“I would like to thank my colleagues and friends from the nominating FAs and across the global football family who have already given their backing to my campaign and sent messages encouraging me in this mission. It has been a great start – my thanks to everyone concerned.”
After garnering support from Premier League managers Jose Mourinho and Ronald Koeman yesterday Figo received endorsements from two old team-mates in ex-Real Madrid superstar Raul Gonzalez and former Portugal midfielder Deco.
Raul, just about to start a stint in the United States with New York Cosmos said: “A player with Luis Figo’s history and past in football, full of glories and recognition, can only be good for football! His candidacy is great news! I am sure he will contribute to the discussion with new and good ideas which will improve football. I’m with him!”
Deco added: “I’m very pleased that Luis Figo is running for the FIFA presidency. I believe that this is the time to change!! It’s going to be a difficult task but Luis is used to very demanding challenges. It would be fantastic news for football!”