Dutch football chief to challenge Blatter for FIFA leadership

Michael van Praag has entered as a candidate to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president. He has the necessary support of at least five national federations and sent this per letter to the national headquarters of the world football union in Zurich yesterday.

"It is well known that I am very concerned about FIFA", said the Van Praag, the current chairman of the KNVB. "It is high time that the organization is fully normalized and again comes to stand in the sign of football. I have hoped for a time that there would be a credible opponent, but that has simply not happened." he said. "That is why I have now put myself forward as candidate."

Van Praag caused quite a stir last year in June at a meeting just before the World Cup in Sao Paulo. Together with other Europen unions, especially the English FA, he insisted on the departure of Blatter as FIFA president. "If you have been somewhere 16 years, you should ask yourself if you can still add something. The image of FIFA has deteriorated after everything that has happened in recent years. Few still take FIFA seriously and how ever you look at it: Blatter is ultimately responsible."

The Frenchmen Jerome Champagne and David Ginola as well as Ali bin Al-Hussein of Jordan have also announced that they are going to challenge Blatter for presidency. They too must prove by Thursday that they have the support of at least five national federations.