By Brian Homewood
Former Portugal forward Luis Figo pulled out of the FIFA presidential election race on Thursday, hours after Dutchman Michael van Praag had also withdrawn.
“My decision is made, I will not stand in what is being called an election for the FIFA presidency,” he said on his Facebook page.
“After a personal reflection and sharing views with two other candidates in this process, I believe that what is going to happen on May 29 in Zurich is not a normal electoral act. And because it is not, don’t count on me.”
His decision left Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein as the only challenger to incumbent Sepp Blatter for the FIFA election.
“There has not been a single public debate about each candidate’s proposals,” said the 42-year-old Figo in announcing his decision.
“Does anyone think it’s normal that an election for one of the most relevant organisations on the planet can go ahead without a public debate?”
“Does anyone think it’s normal that one of the candidates doesn’t even bother to present an election manifesto that can be voted on May 29,” he said referring to Blatter.
“Shouldn’t it be mandatory to present such a manifesto so that federation presidents know what they’re voting for?
“This electoral process is anything but an election.
“This (election) process is a plebiscite for the delivery of absolute power to one man – something I refuse to go along with.
“I do not fear the ballot box, but I will not go along with nor will I give my consent to a process which will end on May 29 and from which football will not emerge the winner.”
He added: “I have witnessed consecutive incidents, all over the world, that should shame anyone who desires football to be free, clean and democratic.
“I have seen with my own eyes federation presidents who, after one day comparing FIFA leaders to the devil, then go on stage and compare those same people with Jesus Christ.
“Nobody told me about this. I saw it with my own eyes.”