Van Praag Set to Quit FIFA Presidential Race

(ATR) Michael van Praag may withdraw from FIFA presidential race to unite behind Prince Ali in a bid to unseat Sepp Blatter

View at the FIFA World Football Association headquaters in Zurich, on October 20, 2010. FIFA has summoned senior Nigerian and Oceanian officials Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii to a committee meeting which is investigating allegations of votes being sold in World Cup bidding. AFP PHOTO / SEBASTIAN DERUNGS (Photo credit should read SEBASTIAN DERUNGS/AFP/Getty Images)
View at the FIFA World Football Association headquaters in Zurich, on October 20, 2010. FIFA has summoned senior Nigerian and Oceanian officials Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii to a committee meeting which is investigating allegations of votes being sold in World Cup bidding. AFP PHOTO / SEBASTIAN DERUNGS (Photo credit should read SEBASTIAN DERUNGS/AFP/Getty Images)

(ATR) Dutchman Michael van Praag may announce his withdrawal from the FIFA presidential race to unite behind Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein in a bid to unseat Sepp Blatter.

Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant and other media in the Netherlands reported Wednesday morning that he is heading out of the race.

Figo may also be poised to follow the KNVB president in stepping aside. Such a move that has been on the cards for many weeks given the Jordanian's global connections in world football after four years on the FIFA Executive Committee.

However, the trio held talks in Geneva last week but could not agree to rally behind Prince Ali.

After several months of campaigning, Van Praag and Figo may now appear to have come to the realisation that a single challenger in the form of Prince Ali stands a better, albeit still slim, chance of ousting the Swiss at the election in Zurich on May 29.

De Volkskrant said the intention was for Van Praag, Figo and Prince Ali to hold a joint press conference in the Netherlands on Thursday to explain their decision. But it also said that if Figo goes back on a pledge to retire from the race, Van Praag may also reconsider his plans to drop out.

A three-man assault on the FIFA presidency almost certainly will not yield a winner from the UEFA-backed candidates. But the danger is that the commitments from voters around the 209 member federations worldwide they have spent weeks carefully securing on their travels will be voided and may end up in Blatter's lap if they jump ship.

A source close Van Praag would not confirm he would be quitting but didn't rule it out.

"We can confirm that there have been discussions between the candidates regarding the possibility to join forces," the spokeperson told Around the Rings.

"Our shared, collective goal is to achieve change within FIFA. It is good that there is a growing international coalition striving for that goal. That is our main focus now. It is too soon to talk about which candidate might have the biggest chance."

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Figo's campaign insisted that the former Portugal star had no plans to quit.

"We don't comment rumours but we reiterate what we said from the first day. Luis is an independent candidate and will keep being independent," he told Around the Rings.

"He will not travel to Holland and won't participate in any press conference contrary to what the rumours say."

Reported by Mark Bisson

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