Global Sports : Blatter Faces Rivals In Vienna

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Sepp Blatter will be in the same room with the men hoping to oust him as FIFA president later.
Prince Ali of Jordan, Michael van Praag and Luis Figo, as well as Blatter, are all in Vienna for UEFA’s annual congress, which sees every European FA represented.
Blatter is the overwhelming favourite to win a fifth term as head of world football’s governing body in May’s election.
Blatter will open today’s congress despite UEFA admitting their disappointment at his refusal to take part in a TV presidential debate with the other candidates.
“UEFA and the UEFA President are clear that there should be a change at FIFA & a democratic & open debate about the Presidency,” UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino told reporters.
“But Mr Blatter has decided that he is going to speak only as FIFA president and not as one of the candidates. The associations can decide for themselves whether they think President Blatter has shown them a lack of respect.”
Van Praag, who is also in chairman of the Dutch FA, told Sky Sports he’d have loved the opportunity to go head-to-head with Blatter.
“I am very disappointed it won’t take place. I welcomed it very much,” he said.
“But just because he won’t come, doesn’t meant there won’t be a debate over the next few months. We will all talk and give interviews.”
Former Portugal international Figo is also in Austria as he attempts to earn enough votes to challenge the incumbent.
And he’s urging associations to vote against Blatter to bring about change at FIFA.
“If nothing happens we’ll be losing four years,” he told reporters. “Most people say they want change, we have to see if they (the football associations) really want change.”


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