Luis Figo proposes expanded World Cup, spread of $1 billion FIFA cash

Figo launches FIFA Presidency manifesto (2:01)

Luis Figo launched his manifesto in London on Thursday to become the next president of FIFA. (2:01)

LONDON -- Luis Figo says he would consider expanding the World Cup if he is elected FIFA president in May.

He has also pledged to restore FIFA's reputation by rebuilding the governing body's credibility.

"In the recent months and even years, I have seen the image of FIFA deteriorate," Figo said. "I speak to many people in football -- players, managers and association presidents - and they have told me something has to be changed.

"I agree with them and this is why I want to become FIFA president. I'm not the kind of man who sits aside and refuses to act. I want a new style of leadership of FIFA that can restore transparency, cooperation and solidarity.

"In my manifesto I have outlined clearly how I would seek to restore FIFA's credibility and rebuild trust in it. This will not be a quick fix, it requires fundamental changes. I'm ready to bring real changes to FIFA, changes that will bring a positive era for FIFA and every one of its member associations."

The 42-year-old is the only former player standing in May's election, which also features FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and Dutch football association chairman Michael van Praag.

Figo hopes his status as a former player who emerged from humble origins and the fact his only desire is to see football prosper identify him as the outstanding candidate.

"Football has given me so much in my life and I now want to give something back to the game that has shaped me so deeply," the ex-Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan midfielder said.

"I grew up in a working class district in Lisbon playing on the streets and my life changed forever through the power of football. Thanks to me playing and my football experience, I am lucky to be an independent man. I don't owe anything to anybody.

"This means I can serve as FIFA president in the interests of football, for football. Football runs in my veins. I'm a man who cares about football, inside and out."

Figo says the 32-team World Cup could be expanded to 40 teams or FIFA could stage two 24-team tournaments simultaneously on two continents followed by a knockout phase in one nation.

In Figo's manifesto, which was launched on Thursday, the Portugal great also proposes that $1 billion of FIFA's $1.5 billion cash reserves be redistributed to the 209 national federations.

Figo received the backing of former England captain and Real Madrid teammate David Beckham on Wednesday, who said: "I welcome the candidacy of my friend Luis for FIFA president.

"Any successful organization needs to have good people who are passionate about the game and want to do the best for fans."

Figo played at clubs including Barcelona, Real and Inter during his career and won the Ballon d'Or in 2000 as well as the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2001.


* The creation of school football projects in every member association country with at least 50 percent of FIFA's solidarity fund spent on grass roots football pitches, balls and kits. Every member association must seek to increase the number of registered boys and girls playing football by at least 10 percent over the next four years.

* Radical change to the way FIFA distributes its solidarity payments. 50 percent of FIFA's revenues -- $2.5 billion (£1.62 billion) -- should be distributed directly to the national associations over four years.

* $1 billion (£650 million) of FIFA's $1.5 billion (£970 million) reserves should be freed up and invested in football development. Independent experts state that $500 million (£324 million) is sufficient to cover the operational needs of FIFA in the unlikely event the World Cup will be postponed.

* Consider proposals to expand the World Cup from its current 32-team structure to a 40 or even 48-team competition. Both these options are feasible with an extra three to four days of tournament play. Additional teams to be drawn from non-European nations.

* Recommendations for changes to the laws of the game including a debate over the use of additional technology, the end of the triple punishment rule, the testing of sin-bins for unsporting behaviour and return of the 'old' definition of the offside rule (a player is judged offside whether directly involved in play or not).

* Ensuring the full independence of the governance, audit and compliance committee to ensure good governance across the entire FIFA organisation. A FIFA football council should be established to advise the president and executive committee.