Cruff will support Van Praag’s bid for FIFA Presidency

FBL-NETHERLANDS-CONGRESSDutch football legend Johan Cruff has pledged his support for Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) President Michael van Praag’s campaign to be elected as FIFA President.

In a video posted on Youtube, Cruff said “I support him 100 per cent, for the reason that he is honest, tries to do well and I am proud that he wants to be the President of FIFA, I will support him.”

Van Praag has been a fierce critic of current President Sepp Blatter and told the Swiss that he “should not run anymore” at the FIFA Congress last June in Sao Paulo.

In his manifesto Van Praag claimed “FIFA needs to go back to basics” and pledges to bring about a period of “normalisation”, as he believes his plans will make the body more transparent and effective. This includes full publication of Michael Garcia’s report into alleged corruption.

The Dutchman has proposed to set up and chair a president’s board, which would see the leaders of all the confederations meet to discuss and help decide on important matters, while the FIFA Executive Committee would publish and explain decisions after every meeting.

All of FIFA’s spending would be published, with his own remuneration also made public. He also pledged to only serve one single four-year term as FIFA President, from 2015 to 2019, to act as a transition to the next generation.

Despite his criticism of Sepp Blatter, Van Praag has also said he would like him to stay on as an “active Honorary President” and build on his legacy with the Sepp Blatter Foundation which helps disadvantaged children around the world.

Similarly to the manifesto launched by former Portuguese football Luis Figo, Van Praag has outlined plans for an expanded World Cup.

Under his proposals, there would be an increase from 32 to 40 countries for the 2026 tournament.

The reigning champions would be assured of a spot at the tournament and each confederation would gain an additional qualification berth.

In addition to an expanded World Cup, prize money would also be increased, while the costs for participants at the quadrennial tournament would be reduced, with FIFA set to buy and organise accommodation and facilities under his plans.

Van Praag also promised to increase football association funding from $250,000 to $1 million per year and set up a separate budget for improvements in the infrastructure of football associations that require additional help.

He asserted that FIFA should serve countries and that it needed to start investing primarily in football again.

— insidethegames

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