David Beckham has welcomed former Real Madrid teammate Luis Figo's bid to unseat Sepp Blatter, saying FIFA needs candidates 'passionate about the game'.

Figo is the only former player standing in May's election, which also features FIFA Vice-President Prince Ali bin al-Hussein and Dutch football association chairman Michael van Praag.

Ahead of Figo's manifesto launch on Thursday, Beckham said in a statement: "I welcome the candidacy of my friend Luis for FIFA president. Any successful organisation needs to have good people who are passionate about the game and want to do the best for fans.''

While not criticising Blatter, Beckham says 'FIFA will only benefit from having a wide range of strong candidates ... it's good to see people volunteer'.

A potential fifth contender, former Fifa official Jerome Champagne, failed to secure the required five nominations. He said only three of Fifa's 209 member federations nominated him by the deadline.

The election will be held May 29 at Fifa's congress in Zurich.

Source: Agencies