Zico says FIFA elections outdated, lack legitimacy

Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:10pm EDT
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA presidential candidate Zico believes that the rules for electing the head of soccer's governing body are unfair, outdated and subject voting federations to outside pressure.

The Brazilian, who played at three World Cups and is regarded as one of the finest footballers ever to have graced the sport, was also disappointed that the current generation of players were afraid to speak their minds on important soccer issues.

Speaking to Reuters on a tram taking him to FIFA headquarters to meet president Sepp Blatter, Zico said it was wrong that candidates had to have written backing from five national football associations.

He said that the rules led to national FAs being subjected to pressure from the continental confederations who often wanted their members to vote as a block.

"I knew about this and the difficulties other candidates went through but you always have to try in life," he said during a 20-minute journey on the number six.

"I have been involved in football for 45 years and there are other professionals like myself who have missed out on being candidates because of this five association rule.

"The (continental) confederations stick their noses in and put pressure on the national FAs who don't have the independence to make their choices.”

Asked if he sensed that national FAs feared reprisals for backing a candidate, he said: "I have had similar thoughts. The FAs should have their freedom and independence."   Continued...

Former Brazil soccer player Zico speaks during a news conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 10, 2015. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares