Sepp Blatter: Fifa presidency rivals disappointed by TV debate snub

Luis Figo
Luis Figo won 127 caps for Portugal between 1991 and 2006

Two of Sepp Blatter's rivals for the Fifa presidency have expressed frustration at the incumbent's decision to reject an offer from the BBC and Sky to take part in a televised debate.

Blatter's three rivals - Luis Figo, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and Michael van Praag - accepted the invitation.

"I think it is a pity," said Figo. "We owe it to the fans of football to hold this debate with all four candidates."

Prince Ali said a televised debate was a good idea and should be supported.

The Fifa vice-president from Jordan said all four candidates "have a responsibility" to "engage in this debate".

Under the BBC and Sky proposal, questions would have come from fans.

"It would have been good for all Fifa member associations and for the fans of football to hold this debate with all four candidates," added former Portugal international Figo.

"I respect all candidates and their proposals and their freedom to decide even if I do not agree with some of them."

Blatter's refusal was expected. The 79-year-old Swiss, seeking a fifth term of office, has also refused to address next week's Uefa Congress.

The Fifa presidential election is due to take place on 29 May.

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