Amsterdam - Dutch FIFA presidential candidate Michael van Praag on Wednesday
announced he was dropping his bid for the world football body's
presidency, saying he will back Jordan's Prince Ali bin al Hussein
instead against incumbent Sepp Blatter.
deliberation and reflection with different involved parties and
stakeholders, Michael van Praag decided to withdraw his candidacy to
become the next FIFA president," his public relations team said in a
Van Praag will now "join forces with presidential
candidate Prince Ali bin al Hussein," said the statement, issued from
Van Praag, 67, is to give a news conference at 18:00 GMT
at an Amsterdam hotel to explain his decision and Prince Ali will also
make a statement.
Dutch football boss Van Praag was one of three
challengers to long-time FIFA president Blatter and were said to be
facing an uphill battle to dethrone the Swiss veteran in an election on
Van Praag, a former Ajax chairman announced his candidacy
in January, saying he wanted to modernise the world governing body
"which has lost all credibility."
FIFA had become ridden with
suspicion, conflicts of interest and allegations of nepotism and
corruption, Van Praag said at the time.
Apart from Van Praag and
Prince Ali, former Portugal football star Luis Figo is also a contender - all three campaigning for change following scandals including over
the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Observers said Prince
Ali stood the best chance to unseat Blatter because the Jordanian had a
better campaign budget and contacts within FIFA.
Blatter, 79 is a strong favourite to win a fifth term at the head of the world's most powerful sporting federation.
The election will be held at the FIFA Congress in Zurich on May 29.
winner will need a majority from FIFA's 209 member federations. Blatter
has received strong public backing from nearly every regional
confederation except Europe's UEFA.