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Sepp Blatter will easily win Fifa vote, says Jim Boyce

By Steven Beacom

Fifa Vice-President Jim Boyce has predicted that Sepp Blatter will comfortably win next week's election to remain president of world football's governing body.

Yesterday Michael van Praag, President of the Dutch Football Federation, and Portugal's legendary winger Luis Figo withdrew from the race leaving just Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan in the running to challenge Blatter.

Figo said: "This process is anything but an election.

"This process is a plebiscite for the delivery of absolute power to one man - something I refuse to go along with."

Even before the two high profile withdrawals, Northern Ireland's Boyce was convinced that 79-year-old Blatter would win a fifth presidential term on May 29 and stay in the post he has occupied since 1998.

Boyce said: "I think Sepp Blatter will be overwhelmingly elected again as President of Fifa.

"Prince Ali has high credentials, but most of the federations I understand are behind Sepp Blatter, so anyone running against the president will have a very difficult job removing him. There is a choice for people and if they feel now is the time for change it is up to them to vote for that."

The highly respected Boyce, who is soon to step down from his Vice President's role, believes that Fifa, like Uefa, should have an age limit on the president and a time limit too.

"I have always said there should be a term of office for the president," added Boyce, who has known Blatter for over 20 years.

"I feel 12 years should be the maximum and also believe there should be an age limit, but last year at the Fifa Congress this was put to the 209 associations and it was overwhelmingly rejected."

He labels the Fifa President 'a gentleman' though admits that Blatter should have acted more strongly and quickly when Fifa members were found guilty of 'wrongdoing' in the past.

Boyce added: "My own personal feeling is that in years gone by the transparency wasn't always there at Fifa and most of the complaints weren't dealt with independently.

"Now they are and I think Fifa is a much better organisation for it."

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