LUIS Figo says the World Cup could be expanded to a 40 or 48-team event if he becomes Fifa president in May.
The Portuguese playing legend is one of three men challenging incumbent Sepp Blatter in this year’s election, and insists he wants Fifa to be more inclusive of countries outside of Europe.
Launching his manifesto at a press conference at Wembley Stadium on Thursday, Figo announced: “I believe we should consider proposals to expand the World Cup from its current 32-team structure to a 40 or even 48-team competition.
“Both these options are feasible with an extra three to four days of tournament play. If this expansion were to take place, I believe that additional teams should come from non-European nations.”
Figo will go up against Blatter, Michael van Praag and Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein in the May 29 poll, and the 42-year-old hopes to redistribute Fifa reserves to national associations if he lands the top job.
Such payments would account for 50 per cent of the organisation’s $2.5 billion revenues, with the aim to fund grassroots football development around the world.
“Fifa belongs to its member associations and it is only natural that Fifa’s revenues and reserves are distributed back to them directly,” he added. “The impact of my proposals would mean between $8-10m being distributed to each member association across a four-year period.”
The former Real Madrid star also noted several other key points to his campaign, including support for goal-line technology and the need for a structured debate regarding further use of technology within the sport.
Figo added his desire to eradicate the ‘triple punishment rule’ whereby clubs are punished three times for the same incident when a player is sent off after conceding a penalty, before being handed a suspension.
The former midfielder is also an advocate of sin-bins for unsporting behaviour towards referees and keen to reinstate the old offside rule, whereby a player is deemed offside regardless of whether or not he is involved directly in the play.