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Thursday, 29 July 2021

Figo asks AFC to allow FIFA candidates to address Asia Congress

Reuters , Wednesday 29 Apr 2015
Luis Figo
Former soccer player Luis Figo of Portugal (Photo: Reuters)

FIFA presidential candidates Luis Figo and Michael van Praag have written to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) requesting the opportunity to address delegates at their annual Congress on Thursday.

Former Portugal international Figo, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan and Van Praag, the president of the Dutch FA, who are all challenging incumbent Sepp Blatter for football's top job in the May 29 vote, have not been invited to speak.

However Blatter, who is expected to sweep up most of Asia's 47-votes, will address the Congress in his role as FIFA president.

Figo told Reuters through a spokesman on Wednesday: "I've been speaking individually with some Federations since I arrived here in Bahrain.

"I think myself and all the other candidates for the FIFA presidential election deserve a chance to address the Congress even if it's for a brief speech.

"It would be in the interest of all the federations and I hope I'll be able to speak openly and freely about my proposals which I'm sure will benefit football and FIFA."

Vam Praag told Reuters "I have written to (AFC president) Sheikh Salman twice and verbally asked him two days ago if I could address the delegates and he has given me no reply."

The three men were also refused the chance to speak at the CONCACAF conference of central and north American countries and the Caribbean islands in the Bahamas earlier this month.

Nor were they given the floor at the South American (CONMEBOL) Congress in Asuncion or the African (CAF) Congress in Cairo. They were however given the floor at the UEFA Congress in Vienna last month.

The agenda for the 26th Asian Congress naturally allows Sheikh Salman Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain the chance to make an opening and closing address and his opening remarks will be keenly followed by Blatter, who is seeking and is expected to win a fifth term of office next month.

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