Just a week before the FIFA presidential election, two reform candidates who opposed Sepp Blatter have pulled out of the race.
Dutch football executive Michael van Praag withdrew his candidacy and threw his support behind Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.
Luís Figo, the Portuguese legend who played for many of Europe’s biggest clubs, also dropped out. In a post announcing his decision on Facebook, Figo unloaded on FIFA in remarkable fashion.
He called the election “a plebiscite for the delivery of absolute power to one man,” Blatter.
He basically called the election process a sham designed to keep Blatter in power:
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? Shouldn’t it be mandatory to present such a manifesto so that federation presidents know what they’re voting for?
That would be normal, but 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.
That is why, 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.
Blatter, who has been president since 1998, is widely expected to win the election in a landslide. He’s so confident that he’ll be reelected that he didn’t even bother publishing a platform.
Figo said that he witnessed corruption first hand during the election.
“I travelled and met extraordinary people who, though they recognised the value of much that had been done, also concurred with the need for change, one that cleans up FIFA’s reputation as an obscure organisation that is so often viewed as a place of corruption,” he wrote. “But over the past few months I have not only witnessed that desire (for change), I have witnessed consecutive incidents, all over the world, that should shame anyone who desires soccer to be free, clean and democratic.”
He also referred to the organisation under Blatter as a “dictatorship.”
Here’s Figo’s Facebook post in full:
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