Luis Figo plans $3.5 billion giveaway

    Story highlights

    • Luis Figo plans to give national and member states $3.5 billion of FIFA's funds to help grassroots developments
    • The presidential candidate wants to increase the number of teams competing in the World Cup to 48
    • If successful he would also like to see some changes to game rules

    (CNN)FIFA presidential hopeful Luis Figo is selling, but can he tempt 209 football federations to buy into his campaign to topple Sepp Blatter?

    The Portuguese great outlined an eye catching $3.5 billion giveaway as he seeks to build a base to challenge Blatter in the May election.
      Figo's "For Football Manifesto" promised that 50% of FIFA's revenues -- $2.5 billion -- would be handed to the national associations over four years to help fund global grassroots football development.
      The former Barcelona and Real Madrid star also wants to redistribute $1 billion of FIFA's $1.5 billion reserves to the member associations.
      "After many conversations with football leaders, one of the consistent themes fed back to me is the way FIFA currently distributes revenues to its member associations is very inefficient and ineffective -- especially for developing football across all associations," said Figo at a media conference to launch his campaign at Wembley Stadium.
      "FIFA belongs to its member associations and it is only natural that FIFA's revenues and reserves are distributed back to them directly.
      "The impact of my proposals would mean between $8m-$10m being distributed to each member association across a four-year period."
      "If done in the right way, with a clearly defined strategy that is centrally audited and monitored, this investment will radically enhance football opportunities for boys and girls and directly benefit all of FIFA's 209 Member Associations."
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      Having dealt with FIFA's finances, Figo faced questioning over his knowledge of the world governing body's executive committee members. Asked to name the 25 committee members he came up with four names -- haltingly.
      Moving on, Figo floated the idea of expanding the World Cup to 48 teams in a bid to include more countries outside of Europe.
      Currently there are 32 teams that compete in the international extravaganza but Figo believes an extra three or four days of play would allow more nations to be accommodated.
      "By increasing the number of teams participating in the World Cup, we not only make sure that we include more countries from across the world, but also enable FIFA to raise significant increased revenues that can be used to invest in the growth of the game globally.
      As for the game itself he wants to put an end to "triple punishments," trial out sin bins for unsporting behavior, and revert to the old offside rule -- where players are judged offside whether directly involved in play or not.
      Ethical issues arguably have been a bit of minefield for FIFA in recent years and Figo pledged to "lead by example, with the highest ethical and moral standards."
      He's up against Jordanian Prince Ali Bin-Al Hussein who is using the same campaign company -- Vero Communications -- which also works for UEFA, the European confederation within FIFA.
      "All I can say is thank God in my life I have had a successful career... I can stand on my own two feet," said Figo, who is funding his campaign out of his own pocket.