Luis Figo has pulled out of the race to be named FIFA president, leaving Prince Ali as the sole candidate against Sepp Blatter.
The former Portugal international was originally one of four candidates fighting it out to head football’s governing body.
However, Figo – who represented the likes of Real Madrid, Inter and Barcelona during a distinguished playing career – confirmed on Thursday that his name would not be on the ballot papers.
It follows the news earlier on Thursday that fellow candidate Michael van Praag is also stepping aside in order to throw his support behind Prince Ali’s candidacy.
Going into further detail for his reasoning for pulling out, Figo cited a lack of fairness in the democratic process, while he also slammed Blatter – who is seeking a fifth term in office – for his campaign.
A statement released by Figo read: “I have seen with my own eyes federation presidents who, after one day comparing FIFA leaders to the devil, then go on stage and compare those same people with Jesus Christ. Nobody told me about this. I saw it with my own eyes.
“The candidates were prevented from addressing federations at congresses while one of the candidates always gave speeches on his own from the rostrum. There has not been a single public debate about each candidate’s proposals.
“Does anyone think it’s normal that an election for one of the most relevant organizations on the planet can go ahead without a public debate? Does anyone think it’s normal that one of the candidates doesn’t even bother to present an election manifesto that can be voted on May 29? Shouldn’t it be mandatory to present such a manifesto so that federation presidents know what they’re voting for?
“That would be normal, but this electoral process is anything but an election.
“This (election) process is a plebiscite for the delivery of absolute power to one man – something I refuse to go along with.
“That is why, after a personal reflection and sharing views with two other candidates in this process, I believe that what is going to happen on May 29 in Zurich is not a normal electoral act.”