By Michael Pavitt at Wembley Stadium in London

Luis Figo proposed the expanded World Cup in his "For Football" manifesto ©AFP/Getty ImagesFIFA Presidential candidate Luis Figo today unveiled proposals for an expanded FIFA World Cup, which would potentially see 48 teams competing at the quadrennial tournament.

He also pledged to invest 50 per cent of FIFA solidarity funds in grassroots football development as part of his "For Football" manifesto.

The former World Footballer of the Year, who played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, also vowed to build a more transparent organisation if elected, claiming protests against the organisation and the negative reaction to the current FIFA President Sepp Blatter at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, had encouraged him to stand for election.

The most eye catching proposal announced in his manifesto would see discussions held over whether the FIFA World Cup should remain in its current 32 teams, or be increased to 40 or 48 teams.

His proposal for a 48 team World Cup would see two tournaments of 24 teams taking place on separate continents, with the final stages of the tournament being played out in one nation.

"Both of these options are feasible with an extra three to four days of tournament play," Figo said.

"If this expansion was to take place, I believe that the additional teams would come from non-European nations.

"My starting point in this debate is that by increasing the number of teams participating in the World Cup, we not only make sure that we include more countries from across the world, but also enable FIFA to raise significant revenues, that can be used to invest in the game globally."

Portuguese legend Luis Figo said grassroots football was at the heart of his campaign to become the next FIFA President  ©AFP/Getty ImagesPortuguese legend Luis Figo said grassroots football was at the heart of his campaign to become the next FIFA President  ©AFP/Getty Images

"FIFA belongs to its member associations and it is only natural that FIFA's revenues are distributed back to them directly.

"The impact of my proposals would mean between $8 million (£5.2 million/€7 million) to $10 million (£6.5 million/€8.8 million) being distributed to each member association across a four year period.

"If done in the right way, with a clearly defined strategy that is centrally audited and monitored, this investment will radically enhance football opportunities for boys and girls and directly benefit all of FIFA's 209 Member Associations."

Similarly to Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein's press conference, also held in London earlier this month, Figo promised to create and more transparent FIFA by improving the structure of the organisation, including merging the ethics and disciplinary committee to be independent and could call the president to account.

"I passionately believe that there is far too much at stake to sit on the side lines and refuse to act - that is not the man I am," said Figo at an event reportedly moved from its original venue, Stamford Bridge, following a racism controversy involving Premier League leaders Chelsea. 

"I am ready to help bring about real change and usher in a far more positive era for FIFA and every one of its Member Associations."

Luis Figo called upon Sepp Blatter to name the Football Asociations that nominated him ahead of the FIFA Presidential election ©AFP/Getty ImagesLuis Figo called upon Sepp Blatter to name the Football Asociations that nominated him ahead of the FIFA Presidential election ©AFP/Getty Images

On the issue of transparency Figo also called upon Blatter to name the five Member Associations that have nominated him for the election, due to held in Zurich on May 29.

He also denied that his candidacy was part of a plan by UEFA President Michel Platini and fellow Prince Ali to work together to challenge Blatter.

But Portuguese praised Ali as "someone with good ideas" and the Royal Dutch Football Association President Michael Van Praag for his experience in a variety of roles, and claimed the contest between the four men would provoke a good debate.

Figo will also continue the modernisation of football, declaring himself a supporter of goal-line technology and suggesting trials take place regarding sin bins, in addition to rule changes which would see the return of the old offside law and the end of the triple punishment rule.

To read the full manifesto click here.

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