Elias Figueroa is the Change FIFA candidate

(WFI) INSIDER can reveal the South American football legend planning to take on Sepp Blatter and Mohamed Bin Hammam for the FIFA presidency.

Three-times South American footballer of the year Elias Figueroa is planning on campaigning on a reformist platform and wants to make FIFA more transparent, bringing supporters into the governance of world football’s ruling body.

INSIDER understands that Figueroa is the candidate of the Change FIFA movement, a social media-based campaign to clean up world football’s governing body which gained traction following the flawed World Cup bid race last year.

After INSIDER broke the story today, Figueroa confirmed the story to
South American media outlets, including Brazil’s leading sports
newspaper, Lance.

“My idea, which is also theirs, is to change some things in football, make it better. I still cannot give details, but if the nomination is confirmed we will reveal,” he told Lance.

This afternoon Figueroa tweeted: “I am considering the proposal to be president of FIFA, but did not want to make public this decision.

“I am flattered that I have been asked to run, it is an honour for Chile, but I have to discuss the possibility with my family.

“Thank you for all your words of support. When I have made the decision I will let you know, as I have always done.

“We have to analyse the proposal and by Tuesday respond. Calm is the best friend of important decisions.”

The brainchild of a Barcelona-based British journalist and entrepreneur, Oliver Fowler, and a Washington-based attorney, David Larkin, the Change FIFA campaign has been courting federations for an all-precious nomination.

It is understood that one of the failed World Cup bid nations entertained the idea of supporting them, so great was their disenchantment with Blatter and Bin Hammam, but ultimately rejected the plan this week.

Another federation is believed to be lined up, but whether the group can raise the $500,000 of funds needed for two months campaigning is another matter.

Nominations for the FIFA presidency close next Friday with the election due to be held in Zurich on June 1.

The 64-year-old Figueroa is considered to be Chile’s greatest player after a 20-year career that saw him play in Brazil, Uruguay, the USA and Chile.

For three consecutive years in the mid-1970s he was named as South America’s footballer of the year. He starred for Chile in three World Cups, 1966 in England, Germany 1974 and Spain 1982.

Known for his cool, unruffled style of play many compared the defender to his World Cup-winning contemporary, Franz Beckenbauer.

Change FIFA were unable to be reached for comment when INSIDER contacted them this morning.

By INSIDER’s James Corbett

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