FIFA Candidates Want Blatter to Join Live TV Debate

Prince Ali and Michael van Praag tell ATR they're willing to participate in live televised debate with Luis Figo and Sepp Blatter.

Picture of the logo of the Global football's governing body FIFA taken on October 3, 2013 at its headquarters in Zurich. Claims that migrant workers are treated like slaves in 2022 World Cup host Qatar were centre stage as global football's governing body FIFA met behind closed doors. Already scheduled to debate shifting the 2022 edition from the World Cup's traditional June and July slot in order to escape the stifling Gulf heat -- a plan which has angered European leagues that fear mid-season havoc -- FIFA found the spotlight shifting to alleged human rights abuses against the workers paving the pay for the tournament.   AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI        (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Picture of the logo of the Global football's governing body FIFA taken on October 3, 2013 at its headquarters in Zurich. Claims that migrant workers are treated like slaves in 2022 World Cup host Qatar were centre stage as global football's governing body FIFA met behind closed doors. Already scheduled to debate shifting the 2022 edition from the World Cup's traditional June and July slot in order to escape the stifling Gulf heat -- a plan which has angered European leagues that fear mid-season havoc -- FIFA found the spotlight shifting to alleged human rights abuses against the workers paving the pay for the tournament. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

(ATR) FIFA presidential candidates Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein and Michael van Praag confirm to Around the Rings they are willing to participate in a live televised debate with Luis Figo and Sepp Blatter.

The BBC and Sky have invited the candidates to take part in a debate involving fans from around the world about the future of football governance and development of the global game.

A spokesman for Prince Ali told ATR the Jordanian "welcomes the initiative" but believes that it has to be a debate involving all four candidates.

A source in the campaign team of Dutch FA president Michael van Praag told ATR: "We can confirm that he agreed to take part." The president of the Dutch FA launched his manifesto on Monday.

Former Portuguese star Luis Figo confirmed on Monday that he was willing to join the TV debate that English FA chief Greg Dyke has said could be staged at London’s Wembley Stadium.

"Football is loved and cherished around the world and we owe it to the fans to have an open, honest discussion about the future of FIFA as the international governing body," Figo said in a statement.

"I fully support the idea of a public debate between the candidates as proposed by the BBC and Sky. For this to work effectively, I believe all four candidates need to participate and I will be writing to the broadcasters to confirm that position.

"It is essential that we set FIFA on a new course and the football community, including the public and the fans, deserve to know what all four Presidential candidates offer for the future."

Blatter, who has not yet issued his manifesto to secure a fifth term as FIFA president, said a few months ago that he was not interested in a public debate. FIFA has not responded to requests to find out if he has changed his mind.

"We are not in politics and we are in sport. We shall not imitate all that is done in politics," the 78-year-old Swiss said in September.

All four candidates vying for world football's top job are campaigning this week in Paraguay. The South American Footballl Confederation (CONMEBOL) Congress opens on Wednesday.

An evening reception is taking place in Asuncion on Tuesday night. CONMEBOL president Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay will be joined by Blatter, UEFA president Michel Platini and his CONCACAF counterpart Jeffrey Webb as well as the presidents of the confederation's 10 member associations.

The FIFA presidential election is slated for May 29 at the world football federation's congress in Zurich.

Reported by Mark Bisson

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