Sepp Blatter rival Prince Ali pledges World Cup expansion in last-ditch FIFA bid
Last Updated: 21/05/15 10:07pm
Sepp Blatter's last remaining rival for the FIFA presidency has released a new manifesto pledging to expand the World Cup.
Prince Ali Bin al Hussein of Jordan is now the only man standing between Sepp Blatter and a fifth term in office after Luis Figo and Michael van Praag both withdrew from next week's ballot.
And now Prince Ali has issued last-ditch alterations to his manifesto, chief among them a plan to add four more teams to the current 32-team World Cup format - starting in Russia in 2018.
His manifesto states: "A commitment to extend the number of countries participating in the World Cup from 32 to 36 teams as soon as possible, with a view to further, development-led expansion to be considered thereafter.
"I am committed to exploring all options to enable this expansion urgently, ideally in time for the 2018 World Cup."
The pledge, along with a proposal to give each member association at least $1m a year, could be read as an appeal to Blatter's traditional voting strongholds of Africa and Asia.
Prince Ali is also proposing future FIFA presidents be limited to two four-year terms, and his new manifesto has the backing of Van Praag.
Figo, meanwhile, has dropped out after failing in his bid to force a public debate between all the candidates.
"This electoral process is anything but an election," he said in a statement. "This process is a plebiscite for the delivery of absolute power to one man - something I refuse to go along with."