SFA back­ing Dutch chief’s bid to top­ple Blat­ter for top job

The Herald - Sport - - FRONT PAGE - DEREK MILLER

SCOT­TISH FA pres­i­dent Camp­bell Ogilvie re­vealed last night that the na­tional as­so­ci­a­tion will throw their weight be­hind Dutch­man Michael van Praag in the race for foot­ball’s top job.

Por­tuguese legend Luis Figo was the lat­est name to be added to the list of chal­lengers to FIFA Pres­i­dent Sepp Blat­ter ahead of a dead­line of mid­night tonight for nom­i­nees to step for­ward.

The sep­tu­a­ge­nar­ian now faces four chal­lengers for the job in May’s elec­tion and Scot­land were yes­ter­day re­vealed as one of six na­tional as­so­ci­a­tions com­ing to­gether to help green-light van Praag’s nom­i­na­tion. Ogilvie said the SFA had backed Blat­ter four years ago on the ba­sis he agreed it would be his last term at the helm.

“The Scot­tish FA can con­firm its support to Michael van Praag, pres­i­dent of the KNVB, on his can­di­dacy for the for thcom­ing FIFA pres­i­den­tial elec­tion,” said Ogilvie, with Bel­gium, Swe­den, Ro­ma­nia, the Faroe Is­lands and Hol­land the other FIFA mem­bers to of­fi­cially back the Dutch FA chief.

“We be­lieve Michael has the ex­pe­ri­ence, in­tegrity and grav­i­tas re­quired to ex­pe­dite the mod­erni­sa­tion of world foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body. Hav­ing known him for more than 20 years, I be­lieve he is the right can­di­date at the right time to re­store har­mony to the game.

“We agreed to support Mr Blat­ter in 2011 on the pro­viso this would be his last term in of­fice and the Scot­tish FA con­tin­ues to hold that belief. We also re­main in favour of a term limit for the role, in keep­ing with good gov­er­nance.”

How­ever it was still Figo who sprung the big­gest sur­prise so far of the contest after wait­ing un­til almost the last hour to an­nounce he was stand­ing. The 42-year-old for­mer Por­tu­gal in­ter­na­tional and world foot­baller of the year says he al­ready has the min­i­mum five nom­i­na­tions and said FIFA’s decision not to publish the Gar­cia re­port into World Cup bid­ding had con­vinced him that change was needed.

Figo, who cut his links with an Asian bet­ting company be­fore an­nounc­ing his can­di­dacy (in stark con­trast to David Gi­nola who is run­ning at the be­hest of a book­maker), said: “Foot­ball has given me so much dur­ing my life and I want to give some­thing back to the game. I look at the rep­u­ta­tion of FIFA right now and I don’t like it. Foot­ball de­serves bet­ter.”

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