Sepp Blatter turns down TV debates

    (CNN)Sepp Blatter has turned down the chance to face his presidential challengers in a live televised debate ahead of the FIFA election on May 29.

    The 79-year-old, who is seeking a fifth term in charge of world football's governing body, was invited to take part in the debate by the BBC and Sky but decided against the idea.
    Luis Figo, the former Barcelona, Real Madrid and Portugal star, Jordanian royal Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein and Dutchman Michael van Praag , the other candidates, have all endorsed the debate.
      Prince Ali said he was disappointed with Blatter's decision and saw it as a missed opportunity.
      "I believe that this election campaign is an opportunity for an open and mature debate about the future direction of FIFA and all four candidates have a responsibility to football to engage in this debate," he said.
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      "The broadcasters initiative is a good one and should be supported."
      Figo also echoed those sentiments, adding: "I think it is a pity. We owe it to the fans of football to hold this debate with all four candidates.
      "It would have been good for all FIFA Member Associations and for the fans of football to hold this debate with all four candidates, but I will nevertheless continue to promote my ideas, which are in favor of reform, transparency and, first and foremost, for football.
      "I respect and all candidates and their proposals and their freedom to decide even if I do not agree with some of them."
      Blatter, who was elected in 1998, is expected to attend the UEFA congress in Vienna next week, where he will speak to the European Football Associations in his role as president of FIFA.
      His presidential opponents are also expected to speak but there are no plans to have a debate.
      Blatter has yet to launch any kind of program, manifesto nor appoint any staff to his campaign.
      The world governing body's general secretary Jerome Valcke has reportedly reminded "all FIFA staff members that they, consultants or any other persons appointed by or working for FIFA are not permitted to take part in any way in these election campaigns".