Former Portuguese football star Luís Figo will be running for the presidency of FIFA, football’s international governing body. The announcement was made by the ex-footballer during an interview with CNN on Wednesday (January 27).
“I care about football and I don’t like what I’m seeing regarding the image of FIFA – not only now but in the past years,” said the footballer, who won the Ballon d’Or in 2000 and FIFA World Player of the Year in 2001.
“If you search FIFA on the internet, you’ll see that the first word that comes up is ‘scandal’,” he said: “Football deserves much better than this.”
FIFA has faced a number of scandals since Joseph Blatter took office in 1998, the most recent of which concerning allegations of bribery and corruption that allegedly went into the decision to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“I’ve been talking with many important people in football – players, managers, presidents of federations – and they all think that something has to be done,” he told CNN.
Figo, who is widely considered one of Portugal’s best footballers ever, having played for Sporting, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter as well as won 127 caps for the national team, will be running against current FIFA president Joseph Blatter, as well as former Paris Saint-Germain star David Ginola, independent candidate Jerome Champagne, Asian Football Confederation vice-president Prince Ali and Michael van Praag, the head of Dutch football.
All candidates have to register their bid before Thursday (January 29) and pass an anti-corruption test.
Fernando Gomes, president of Portugal’s Football Federation (FPF), has come out in support of Luís Figo, saying it is a “huge honour” to support his bid for presidency.
Congratulating Figo for his “courage”, Gomes said that he believes the ex-footballer is “an able person” who has “what it takes” to get the job done.
By MICHAEL BRUXO