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Barcelona, Real Madrid great Figo withdraws from FIFA presidency

Luis Figo has dropped out of the FIFA presidency race.

The Portugal great has withdrawn from the 2015 vote, providing very strong reasons for his decision, suggesting that the process is not at all democratic.

The former Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan star joins Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) president Michael van Praag as the two men to pull out on Thursday leaving current chief Sepp Blatter and Jordan's Prince Ali bin al-Hussein to battle it out in next week's election.

Figo said: "I have witnessed consecutive incidents, all over the world, that should shame anyone who desires soccer to be free, clean and democratic.

"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 organisations 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?"

He continued: "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. And because it is not, don't count on me.

"I do not fear the ballot box, but I will not go along with nor will I give my consent to a process which will end on May 29 and from which soccer will not emerge the winner."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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