FIFA president Sepp Blatter has brushed aside claims from Luis Figo that he runs football’s governing body as a “dictatorship” and is confident of winning a fifth term in office.
Last week Figo joined Michael Praag in pulling out of the upcoming presidential elections, leaving Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein as Blatter’s sole challenger.
Figo, a former Real Madrid, Inter and Barcelona star, stated in a lengthy statement that he would not put himself forward for consideration until “it is proven to me that we are not living under a dictatorship”.
The Portugal legend also claimed the upcoming vote was about the “delivery of power to one man”.
Responding to Figo, Blatter told Sky Sports: “Luis Figo is free to say what he wants to say because he’s free you can ask him why to be called [me] a dictator? I have received so many titles, but I am still the president until Friday.
“You know me, I’m an optimist so of course I’m confident [of winning the election].”
FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce also dismissed Figo’s claims and expects Blatter to triumph.
“I can’t say it is [a dictatorship]. A lot of people have asked me this question at the Exco meetings people like myself and other new members we have been given our place and if there was something that I have wanted to say I have said it.
“I have never been refused permission at any time to make my views or other peoples’ views known. So I don’t think it is fair to claim a dictatorship and I have certainly not found that.
“There were four presidential candidates and now we only have Prince Ali. I am little bit surprised because I felt it was giving people the opportunity if they wanted change to have change.
“I will be surprised if Sepp Blatter does not get the necessary support in the election on Friday.”
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