Van Praag ready to tackle FIFA


Published: Tuesday 27th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Dutch Football Association president Michael van Praag has announced he will stand as a candidate for the FIFA presidency, bidding to address the “deteriorating situation” at the world governing body.

Van Praag revealed the news to UEFA’s executive committee on Monday and announced his candidature on the website of the Dutch FA (KNVB).

“I’m very worried about the deteriorating situation at FIFA,” the former Ajax chairman said. “The public opinion of trustworthiness is very bad, and with me a lot of people in the world believe so.

“I was hoping a credible, new, fresh face would step up to do it, but unfortunately that is not the case, so that’s why I decided to take my own responsibility, especially after what I said in Sao Paulo, and therefore I’m going to go for it.”

Van Praag told Blatter to his face during the FIFA Congress in Brazil last June that he had to take responsibility for the ” accusations of corruptions, bribery and all kinds of old boys’ network things” surrounding FIFA and saying he felt the Swiss veteran “should not run any more”.

The 67-year-old added on the KNVB’s YouTube channel on Monday: “FIFA has to be normalised and modernised. In my business life, but also in Ajax and also in my association, I went through this exercise many, many times so I believe I’m the right person to do it.”

KNVB secretary general Bert van Oostveen added: “It is clear that something has to change in FIFA to restore credibility. Michael is the right man for this. ”

Van Praag will formally announce his candidacy at a news conference in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

His move will see Blatter, Van Praag, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein from Jordan – and possibly Frenchman Jerome Champagne – confirmed as candidates after Thursday’s deadline.

However, UEFA president Michel Platini is also keen to give support to Prince Ali and ensure that there is no split vote among those associations keen on reform of FIFA.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said the European governing body would not be formally backing either Van Praag or Prince Ali.

He told a news conference: “We have heard about Prince Ali and we have heard about Michael van Praag and it is good there is a proper discussion.

“We are an open democracy, we have different views and the important thing is everyone can express his views.”

Van Praag said he had obtained the minimum five nominations from national associations but the Football Association has yet to decide who it will support – that decision is likely to come on Thursday.

FIFA agent Mino Raiola announced last week he could stand as a candidate but may be having second thoughts – the Italian backed rival candidate Van Praag but will “not yet” end his own bid.

“Until I heard this news I was for sure going to give it a shot,” Raiola told Sky Sports News HQ. “I’m excited about the presidency Van Praag is bringing.

“What he brings is more than me, he has the credentials and he knows the system from the inside. He (has been) in football for 30 years and has credibility.”

David Ginola is expected to be forced to withdraw as a candidate on Thursday after failing to gain the required nominations. The former Tottenham and France winger is being backed by a bookmaker but his campaign to raise £100,000 in public money has so far raised only £5,900.

Published: Tuesday 27th January 2015 by The News Editor

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