Easier to beat Blatter with one candidate, says Van Praag

Van Praag and former Barcelona and Real Madrid winger Figo share similar ideas on how to reform the world governing body

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Dutch Football Association President Michael van Praag believes he and former Portugal international Luis Figo have no chance of unseating Sepp Blatter in the FIFA leadership elections if they both stand against the Swiss.

“That’s what I think and (UEFA president) Michel Platini too,” Van Praag was quoted as saying by Dutch newspaper ‘De Telegraaf’ on Saturday.

“What Figo thinks about that I don’t know but it would be much better for Europe if we presented one candidate.”

Predictably, Van Praag said he was the better option.

“Figo is more photogenic. All the South American member association presidents wanted to take their photo with him. But they didn’t want to say if they would vote for him,” the Dutchman said on his return from the CONMEBOL Congress in Paraguay this week.

Both were lobbying for support for the election at the end of May, where they are up against Blatter and Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein, another ally of Platini.

Van Praag and former Barcelona and Real Madrid winger Figo share similar ideas on how to reform the world governing body but they do differ slightly on how to allocate the annual grant to the 209 member associations, the Dutchman said.

“I want to hand over one million Euros ($1.08 million) (annually) but Figo wants to double that. That would bankrupt FIFA. A million is the most that can be disbursed without putting FIFA in danger.”

Van Praag kept up his criticism of the spendthrift ways of Blatter, who travelled by helicopter for lunch with Paraguay President Horacio Cartes after the congress in Asuncion.

“Why did Sepp Blatter have to travel to South America in a private jet when there are good air connections between Europe and South America?

“There is far too much spent on travel, salaries and tournament costs. It is our money. The money of the national associations. That’s what I’ve been telling everybody.”

Van Praag said two of the 10 South American associations had promised him support in the May 29 election.

However, a source told Reuters on Tuesday the confederation would back the 78-year-old Blatter, who has held power since 1998, for another four year term.

Van Praag said he would travel to other continental confederation congresses in coming weeks to present his ideas.

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