Could Figo’s new ideas form future of FIFA?

With the recent announcement that the Qatar 2022 World Cup could be held in the winter due to its unbearably hot summers, eyes once again turn to the organisation that chose this unsuitable country to hold the famous tournament. The issues of corruption and deceit have been raised over and over again as more problems with the 2022 World Cup are unearthed, adding to FIFA’s already shady reputation.

The head of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, has been in charge for 15 years and his supremacy over the organisation is seen as one of the problems. Therefore the presidential race, due to culminate in elections on 29th May 2015, is giving hope to many that a new, candid FIFA president will be elected who can reform FIFA into a progressive and current organisation.

In the running for this position is former Barcelona and Real Madrid star Luis Figo. He released his manifesto last week, the first of the candidates to do so. Within it, Figo has suggested a 40 or 48 nation World Cup played across two continents. In addition, he has called for more of FIFA’s revenue and cash revenues to be spent on grassroots football and national federations.

Looking at the rules of football themselves, Figo has proposed for the reinstatement of the old offside law in which a player could be flagged offside whether interfering with play or not, and the trial of sin bins for unsporting behaviour.

Figo claims to have been motivated to run for the presidency after seeing the decline of FIFA over the years and is aiming to ‘restore transparency, cooperation and solidarity’ to the organisation. However, despite this sentiment, Figo has the least connections with the voting members, and so is the outsider. Each of FIFA’s 209 members has a vote, and so therefore the candidate with the most connections is most likely to win.

Because of this, Blatter is the favourite to win, having built up a network of voters after winning the previous two elections. The other two candidates are the FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein, who will be backed by the English Football Association, and Michael Van Praag, the head of the Dutch FA. Both have previously criticised Blatter’s regime.

Regardless of Sepp Blatter’s weight in the voting arena, it is hoped that the national federations can see that FIFA is desperate for a new era of reform and progression. For too long the organisation has been overshadowed by controversy and accusations of bribery. A new president will go some way to restoring the faith in football’s governing body.


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Nancy Gillen

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