AMSTERDAM: Michael Van Praag, like fellow FIFA presidential challenger Luis Figo, wants to increase the number of World Cup finalists.

Van Praag, president of the Dutch federation, has used the prospect to try to rally support from beyond Europe. Also like Figo Van Praag wants to ramp up the development returns to individual federations, totalling up to $1m a year, four times the current $250,000.

Van Praag spoke before travelling to Paraguay to lobby for support at the CONMEBOL Congress which was also attended by incumbent FIFA president Blatter who is favourite to be re-elected.

The third contender is the outgoing FIFA vice-president of the Asian confederation, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan.

Van Praag also says he would ensure full publication of Michael Garcia’s report into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, rather than a redacted version, if he were elected president.

He did not explain, however, how he would overcome the guarantees of confidentiality offered to many of the witnesses.

The Dutchman, whose campaign is being funded by his country’s FA, also promised to limit his presidency to one four-year term.

Explained how the World Cup would be expanded to 40 teams, Van Praag suggested at least one extra team from all six confederations.

In his manifesto he says: “The development of football throughout the world would be better served by a larger World Cup competition, with proportionally more countries from outside Europe (and South America).

“When FIFA was founded in 1904, it was precisely for that reason – to boost the popularity and speed up the development of the game. So this step is just as logical as it is necessary.”

Van Praag is also in favour of utilising technology to help match officials, in line with an unofficial experiment currently being run bvy the KNVB.

He said: “We cannot expect our referees to be the only people in the stadium who cannot replay that [controversial] moment.”


Van Praag also proposed creating an ‘inner decision-making bureau’ which would comprise the FIFA president and the heads of the six regional confederations.

Promising greater transparency, Van Praag added: “This board will help take decisions on important matters and in doing so, give FIFA and its structure its credibility back.”

Van Praag has long been concerned about FIFA’s negative image.

He said: “Under my leadership, the exco will publish and explain decisions after every meeting.

“We see that the stream of negative reports about our FIFA continues. We see reports that are quashed. We see films by and about FIFA which cost €20m to produce. And we see continuing stories around the allocation of World Cup.

“That’s not my world football body, that’s not the way the sport to which I owe so much, should be portrayed. Normalisation, that’s the key word. The organisation must go back to being plain normal.”

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