The former Portugal international, 42, wants a greater percentage of FIFA’s income spent on grassroots development and also proposed sin-bins and reverting to the old offside rule interpretation.


“I believe we should consider proposals to expand the competition to a 40 or even 48 team World Cup,” Figo told a news conference.

“Both these options are feasible with an extra three to four days of tournament play. If this expansion were to take place I believe that additional teams should come from non-European nations.”

He suggested two 24-team tournaments could be played simultaneously on two different continents with a final knockout stage in one country.

Figo is one of three men challenging incumbent Sepp Blatter. Michael Van Praag, the president of the Dutch FA, and Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, a member of the FIFA executive committee, are also standing.

The election takes place at the FIFA congress in Zurich on May 29.


Figo, FIFA’s World Player of the Year in 2001, told Reuters the time had come for a root and branch change at FIFA — and he was the man to do it.

“I’m an independent person. I think I’ve presented a strong manifesto with important changes and that allows the organisation to have more transparency with greater care for the associations and the game’s development.

“I will try to convince the people that vote, that FIFA really needs to change.”

Figo, who played for Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan and represented Portugal at two World Cups during a glittering career, said that half of FIFA’s $2.5 billion revenue should go to fund grassroots football over a four-year period and that $1.0 billion of its cash reserves should be distributed to the national federations.

He also advocated the increased use of technology, using sin bins and reverting back to the previous interpretation of the offside rule, “where a player is judged offside whether directly involved in the play or not”.

He wants to change the make-up of the FIFA executive, with among other things, a guaranteed seat for every country which has won the World Cup.

(Editing by Justin Palmer)