- Associated Press - Monday, February 2, 2015

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - Dutch football great Johan Cruyff threw his support Monday behind the bid of longtime friend Michael van Praag to unseat Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.

Van Praag, who is head of the Dutch football association and a member of UEFA’s executive committee, is “somebody you can count on,” Cruyff wrote in his column for top-selling Dutch daily De Telegraaf.

Cruyff said he is watching the FIFA presidential campaign “from the sidelines,” but “If Van Praag asks for my support, he’ll get it.”

Cruyff and Van Praag both have long-standing links to Amsterdam club Ajax, where Cruyff burst onto the international stage as a precocious teenage talent and where Van Praag is a former chairman.

Van Praag is one of three candidates challenging Blatter in the May 29 vote. Former Portugal star Luis Figo and Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan also are running against Blatter, who is seeking a fourth term.

Prince Ali and Figo have been encouraged to run by UEFA and its president, Michel Platini.

Cruyff said he hopes the European candidates can “use their common sense” and work together.

“I think Luis Figo is an excellent candidate but he needs help at this stage of his career in administration,” Cruyff said. “So it would be good if Figo now supports Van Praag. Should Michael get elected, then Figo can walk with him for four years before taking over the baton.”

Van Praag said last week he wants only one four-year term as FIFA president to reform an organization that “has lost all credibility.”


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