Tuesday 26 September 2017

Figo plans a 48-team World Cup in FIFA president bid

Luis Figo is a credible candidate and offered clear policies in his manifesto as well as the usual goals of greater transparency and restoring FIFA's credibility
Luis Figo is a credible candidate and offered clear policies in his manifesto as well as the usual goals of greater transparency and restoring FIFA's credibility

Tom Peck

A 48-team World Cup played in two continents, the introduction of sin-bins, a return to the "old" offside rule and a large and immediate cash windfall for almost every single nation on the planet were just a few of the pledges on offer should Luis Figo replace Sepp Blatter as the next Fifa president.

"I am not the kind of man who sits on the side and refuses to act," Figo said. "It is time for me to give back to the world of football everything it gave me."

At the expensive looking campaign launch in London, the former Barcelona, Real Madrid and Portugal winger had to confirm that he was "his own man" and was funding his campaign himself.

Figo is a credible candidate and offered clear policies in his manifesto as well as the usual goals of greater transparency and restoring FIFA's credibility.

His chief promise was to devote more money to grassroots football, to get more young boys and girls playing the game, by distributing $2.5bn (£1.62bn) a year for "better infrastructure and more training".

This would be funded by a bizarre proposition to expand the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams, with two separate 24-team tournaments played separately on different continents, combining later on for the knockout stages.

To win the race, anyone defeating Blatter will need to receive the votes of 105 of the 209 members.

Given the unanimous support that the African federation's 56 members have already pledged to give the Swiss and the substantial backing he will receive from Asia and Latin America, he is all but impossible to defeat.

 

Figo's manifesto

1 Expand the World Cup to 40 or even 48 teams, to be held across two continents.

2 Use half of FIFA's $2.5bn (£1.62bn) four-year revenue to fund grassroots football.

3 Redistribute $1bn (£650m) of FIFA's $1.5bn (£975m) cash reserves to the 209 national federations.

4 Increase the use of technology, including the use of sin bins.

5 Revert to old interpretation of the offside rule, where a player is judged offside whether directly involved or not.

Irish Independent

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