Figo: I want to restore FIFA's image

Luis Figo speaks to the media during a press conference at Wembley Stadium

Duncan Bech

Luis Figo has pledged to restore FIFA's reputation if he is elected president in May by rebuilding the governing body's credibility.

The 42-year-old former Portugal international and world footballer of the year unveiled his manifesto for election at a press conference held at Wembley Stadium.

While outlining a range of proposals, the only former player standing against serving president Sepp Blatter stressed his priority is to repair an image seen by many as being tarnished. "In the recent months and even years, I have seen the image of FIFA deteriorate," Figo said.

"I speak to many people in football - players, managers and association presidents - and they have told me something has to be changed.

"I agree with them and this is why I want to become FIFA president. I'm not the kind of man who sits aside and refuses to act.

"I want a new style of leadership of FIFA that can restore transparency, cooperation and solidarity.

"In my manifesto I have outlined clearly how I would seek to restore FIFA's credibility and rebuild trust in it. This will not be a quick fix, it requires fundamental changes.

"I'm ready to bring real changes to FIFA, changes that will bring a positive era for FIFA and every one of its member associations."

Figo is one of three rival candidates who are hoping to replace Blatter with Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, the head of the Jordan Football Association and current vice-president of FIFA, and Dutch Football Association chairman Michael van Praag also standing.

Each are promising to clean up FIFA's image following a number of high-profile controversies in recent years that have placed Blatter's position under pressure.

Figo, however, hopes his status as a former player who emerged from humble origins and the fact his only desire is to see football prosper identify him as the outstanding candidate.

"Football has given me so much in my life and I now want to give something back to the game that has shaped me so deeply," the ex-Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan midfielder said.

"I grew up in a working class district in Lisbon playing on the streets and my life changed forever through the power of football.

"Thanks to me playing and my football experience, I am lucky to be an independent man. I don't owe anything to anybody.

"This means I can serve as FIFA president in the interests of football, for football. Football runs in my veins. I'm a man who cares about football, inside and out."

fifa presidency