Luis Figo has described Sepp Blatter’s re-election as FIFA president as a “dark day” for football, and called on him to resign if he truly cares about the sport.
Blatter was handed a fifth term as head of the world governing body when sole challenger Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein withdrew before the second round of voting at the FIFA Congress in Zurich on Friday.
The Swiss subsequently vowed to leave a “strong” body for his successor, after damaging allegations of corruption have rocked the organisation over the past week.
Nine past and present FIFA officials were among 14 people indicted on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and corruption by United States authorities on Wednesday.
Former Portugal international Figo withdrew as a candidate to face Blatter prior to the Congress, but he believes that the 79-year-old should not have the opportunity to rebuild FIFA’s damaged reputation.
“It was another dark day in Zurich,” Figo posted in a statement on Facebook. “FIFA has lost, but above everything, football has lost and everyone who truly cares about it has lost too.
“Mr Blatter had a very cynical reaction when he said that he couldn’t control everyone. It offends everyone’s intelligence. These persons, whom Mr Blatter has promoted through years, turned, with him, FIFA in to a decadent organisation.
“If Mr Blatter were minimally concerned about football, he would have given up on re-election. If he has a minimal of decency, he will resign in the next few days.”
UEFA president Michel Platini had backed Prince Ali’s campaign and was also among those to call for Blatter to step down in the aftermath of Wednesday’s arrests.
UEFA had also stated that its member nations could boycott all FIFA competitions – including the World Cup – should Blatter be re-elected.
Following the vote – which was decided only after neither candidate had gained the required two-thirds majority in the first round of voting – Platini praised Prince Ali’s efforts, saying: “I am proud that UEFA has defended and supported a movement for change at FIFA. Change which in my opinion is crucial if this organisation is to regain its credibility.
“I congratulate my friend Prince Ali for his admirable campaign and I take the opportunity to thank all the national associations who supported him.”
English Football Association (FA) chairman Greg Dyke was also vocal in his belief that FIFA required change and he questioned whether Blatter would remain in office for the full four years of his term.
“The idea Blatter could reform FIFA is suspect. I’d be very surprised if he was still in this job in two years time,” he told Sky News.
“The events of this week were so dramatic for FIFA, but I cannot see FIFA reforming itself under Blatter. He’s had 16 years to reform it but he hasn’t done it.”
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