Former Barcelona legend Luis Figo believes sport will suffer with Sepp Blatter getting a fifth term as as FIFA president
Zurich: Luis Figo insists "football has lost" after Sepp Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as FIFA president despite widespread calls for him to step down over the corruption scandal engulfing the world governing body. Blatter saw off the challenge from Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan on Friday in the same week seven FIFA officials were arrested and 18 people connected to football were indicted on corruption charges by the US justice department.
Blatter shrugged off the latest crisis to engulf the organisation to win the first round by 133 votes to 73 and, after Prince Ali decided to withdraw ahead of the second round, the 79-year-old Swiss was installed as FIFA president for another four years. Figo was hugely critical of Blatter when he withdrew his presidential candidacy last week and launched another scathing attack when news of Blatter’s victory emerged on Friday.
"Today, FIFA has lost, but above everything, football has lost and everyone who truly cares about it has lost too," the former Portugal and Real Madrid midfielder wrote on Twitter.
Figo pulled out of the race to challenge Blatter’s leadership on the same day as Michael van Praag withdrew his candidacy and the Dutch Football Association president was also unequivocal in his disappointment.
"We might have lost the battle, but this process is far from over. I will continue to fight for a better FIFA," he tweeted.
Did you know?
The number of FIFA member associations when Blatter joined in 1975 was 144. Now there are 209 and it is these newer countries where Blatter has developed his powerbase.
How Sepp's win affects football
1. The position of Russia and Qatar as hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be protected despite the ongoing investigation.
2. The World Cup final will remain a 32-team tournament -- Prince Ali had promised to increase the tournament to 36 spots.
3. A period of real instability in football could ensue, with serious divisions between FIFA and the European governing body, UEFA.
4. European nations are unlikely to boycott FIFA tournaments -- however, they may take action to snub FIFA committees and events.
5. There is a threat that the number of World Cup places for European nations will be cut.
(Text: PA Sport)