Brazilian soccer legend Zico on Wednesday announced his candidacy for the presidency of the sport's international governing body, FIFA. However, he said that a change of rules would probably be required to make his bid viable.
The announcement comes amid growing speculation over the succession of Sepp Blatter, the 79-year-old Swiss, who stunned the soccer world earlier this month by resigning as the organization's president, only four days after being re-elected for a fifth term. Blatter decided to step down after the federation was hit by a massive corruption scandal that led to the detention of several FIFA officials.
“I would like to confirm the decision to be a candidate,” the Telegraph quoted Zico as saying. “I feel I am capable. For sure, certain rules need to change.”
Under current rules, candidates entering the race for the election of the next chief must have the backing of federations from five countries affiliated to FIFA, Reuters reported, adding that Zico does not have that support yet.
The 62-year-old Brazilian soccer star also said that Michel Platini, the president of the Union of European Football Associations, had advised him to run for head of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), but Zico refused to do so as he did not have the required support of eight state federations and five clubs.
“There's more chance of FIFA than the CBF,” Reuters quoted Zico as saying to reporters in Rio de Janeiro. “The ideal thing would be here in Brazil but unfortunately the rules of the game do not favor outsiders.”
Although Blatter has announced his resignation, he will not be departing immediately. His replacement is expected to be decided at a FIFA congress, which is likely to be held between December 2015 and March 2016.
“It's sad for our sport to see what is happening in football today,” Zico, who is regarded as one of the best players to have graced the sport, said, adding that it was his duty to use his “experience and knowledge to try and stand for the presidency.”