19th February, 2015
Former Portugal winger Luis Figo launched his campaign for the FIFA presidency on Thursday by revealing plans to expand the World Cup to up to 48 teams.
Unveiling his manifesto at Wembley Stadium in London, the 42-year-old said the expansion of the quadrennial tournament from its current 32-team format would be “weighted towards non-European teams”.
One of his proposals for the World Cup is to split it into two 24-team tournaments played simultaneously on two different continents, followed by a final knockout stage in one country.
Another of his key proposals is the distribution of half of FIFA’s wealth — $2.5 billion (2.19 billion euros) — directly to its member associations for spending on grassroots football.
The former Barcelona and Real Madrid superstar also called for the restoration of the ‘old’ interpretation of the offside rule, “where a player is judged offside whether directly involved in the play or not”.
Figo is standing against incumbent Sepp Blatter, Dutch football chief Michael van Praag and FIFA vice-president for Asia Prince Ali bin Al Hussein in the FIFA presidential election on May 29.