Van Praag wants bigger World Cup

Amsterdam, Jan 29 (IANS) Michael van Praag wants more teams from outside Europe in the World Cup and aims to implant more strict measures to combat match fixing, the FIFA presidential candidate stated during his presentation at the Olympic Stadium here.

“I am looking forward to present you my ‘FIFA normalisation agenda 2015-2019’ next month but I don’t like empty promises. So, for now, I unveil some of my intentions,” van Praag said Wednesday, reports Xinhua.
If elected FIFA president, his first intention is enlarging the World Cup, currently with 32 teams.
“The football world is better served with a bigger World Cup with more countries from outside Europe because participation at the World Cup has proven to be good for the development and popularity of football in the participating countries.”
Van Praag also promised to cut spending on non-football issues.
“Last year a FIFA film cost 20 million euros. That’s money that belongs to the associations. Another intention is strict measures to combat match fixing. This is a huge threat to integrity of our sport. Combating match fixing should be on top of the agenda worldwide,” van Praag explained.
“Also high on agenda is transparency of FIFA. For instance, FIFA should make expenses public. At present expenses are very secret.”
The FIFA presidential elections will be held at the 65th FIFA congress in Zurich which starts May 29. So far Jerome Champagne, David Ginola, Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan and Luis Figo also announced the intention to stand against current boss Sepp Blatter.
“I am also open for a fair debate with other candidates, publicly, broadcasted live,” van Praag added.
For Blatter, van Praag had the following message: “Sepp, you would make yourself immortal if you step aside.”
Blatter is a clear favourite to get a majority vote by the 209 FIFA member associations and therefore able to start a fifth term as FIFA president. The majority of Africa’s 53 FIFA countries support Blatter and he also remains popular in Asia, eastern Europe, South America and most of North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Van Praag might be able to get the confidence of most European countries but where else should he get his votes from?
“My intention is to visit key figures of confederations and explain them how I want to do it. I want to convince them to support me and my normalisation programme. I want to convince them I am the right candidate for the whole world. I am looking forward to meeting old friends and listen to them. It is about the future of football, a game to love.”