Dutch candidate for FIFA presidency wants more transparency
ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) The Dutch candidate for the FIFA presidency said Monday he wants to boost the number of teams at the World Cup to 40 and give guaranteed berths to host nations and defending champions.
Royal Netherlands Football Association Chairman Michael van Praag also said FIFA should send more money to national federations, pledging an annual handout of $1 million to each football federation, four times the current $250,000.
Van Praag made the pledges as he asked the Dutch FA to foot the 394,538-euro ($440,977) bill for his campaign to oust FIFA President Sepp Blatter following May's election.
Van Praag briefly outlined his bid to ''normalize'' FIFA before rushing to catch a plane to Paraguay, where he will lobby members of the South American football federation for their support.
He said future 40-team World Cups should also include an extra team from each confederation. He said prize money for participants at the World Cup and Confederations Cup also should be increased and a separate budget should be established to improve infrastructure at national associations that need financial support.
Not surprisingly given the Dutch FA's support for goal-line technology, Van Praag said he wants to give referees more technological help where possible.
He said that when something controversial happens on the pitch, ''we cannot expect our referees to be the only people in the stadium who can't replay that moment.''
He also said that as FIFA president he would set up an international academy to train referees and another for youth trainers.
The 78-year-old Blatter is seeking a fifth term running global football's governing body. FIFA Vice President Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan and Portugal great Luis Figo also looking to end Blatter's reign, which began in 1998.
Van Praag, a veteran football administrator and wealthy businessman, was prepared to fund his own campaign, but that wasn't necessary - in a show of hands vote, members of the Dutch FA overwhelmingly agreed to meet the cost.
Van Praag also said he would publish ''as soon as possible'' the confidential report of American lawyer Michael Garcia who led an investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid process that led to Russia and Qatar winning the hosting rights.
''When you act normally, you have nothing to hide,'' Van Praag said.
FIFA also has said it will publish the report, but only after legal proceedings against five people for alleged wrongdoing in the World Cup campaigns are concluded, a process that could take a long while.