(WFI) FIFA is set to name Sepp Blatter and Mohamed Bin Hammam as the only candidates in the race for the presidency of world football’s governing body after Chilean football legend Elias Figueroa decided not to stand.
The 64-year-old was the choice of the ChangeFIFA movement, the social media-based campaign seeking to clean up FIFA following the cash-for-votes World Cup bidding process that rocked FIFA last year.
Figueroa said in a statement he had decided not to accept because “in such a short period of time I could not develop a case worthy of the magnitude and importance of such a distinguished job”.
Since INSIDER last Friday revealed that Figueroa was interested in being ChangeFIFA’s candidate to mount a challenge to Blatter last Friday, “I have received countless messages of support from both Chile and abroad, which fills me with joy”.
Figueroa thanked “all displays of affection I received from my country and from abroad, via email, Twitter, international newspapers and other media, which leads me to reaffirm the desire to use all this international recognition in the development of Chilean soccer”.
Figueroa, who played in three World Cups and was three times South American Footballer of the Year in the 1970s, was unable to get one of FIFA’s 208 member associations to back his candidacy. Raising $500,000 of funds for two months campaigning was another factor.
ChangeFIFA’s appeal to FIFA members over the last few days – largely through Twitter and Facebook communications – was in vain.
It approached a number of associations, including England and Football Federation Australia who remain angry at the way Blatter handled the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process.
The deadline for nominations for the FIFA presidency is Friday midnight.
FIFA will declare early on Saturday morning that Blatter, 75, and Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam, 61, will be the only names in the presidential elections at the FIFA Congress in Zurich on June 1.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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