FIFA presidency hopefuls slam boss Blatter

Sepp Blatter's decision to turn down a televised debate with fellow candidates for the FIFA presidency has come in for criticism.

The FIFA election will take place on May 29, with Sky and BBC offering to televise Blatter up against his rivals - only for the Swiss, who is seeking a fifth consecutive term, to turn it down.

Among those contesting for the presidency are Luis Figo, Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein and Michael van Praag.

Figo, of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter fame, said he wanted to air his ideas in a public forum.

"I think it is a pity. We owe it to the fans of football to hold this debate with all four candidates," the former Portugal international said of Blatter's decision.

"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 favour of reform, transparency and, first and foremost, for football.

"I respect all candidates and their proposals and their freedom to decide even if I do not agree with some of them."

Prince Ali said he felt the broadcasters should have seen their idea met with more enthusiasm from 79-year-old Blatter.

"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," the vice-president for FIFA in Asia said.

"The broadcasters' initiative is a good one and should be supported."