By Brian Homewood
BERNE (Reuters) - FIFA presidential candidate Zico wants to hold a debate with his rivals in Zurich later this month, a source close to the former Brazilian international told Reuters on Saturday.
Zico made the suggestion in an email to rival candidate Chung Mong-joon and also said the BBC was willing to organize the debate.
He suggested, said the source, that it take place between Sept. 23 and 25, the same week the executive committee of soccer's scandal-hit governing body meet in Zurich.
Chung had previously written to Zico, saying he agreed with the Brazilian's call made earlier this week, for an early debate among the candidates.
Michel Platini, president of European soccer's ruling body UEFA, is considered the frontrunner to win the election to replace the outgoing Sepp Blatter on Feb. 26.
"Dr Chung fully agrees with Mr Zico's proposal and hopes that Mr Platini and other candidates express their views on holding a public debate," said the South Korean's spokesman in a statement sent to Reuters.
Zico has admitted he faces a tough battle to get the written backing of five national FAs required by FIFA's electoral rules to officially enter the race.
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) have promised to support him once he has the backing of four other FAs.
The deadline for candidates to register is Oct. 26 and Zico launched his campaign website (www.zicofifa.com) on Friday.
The website announced a 10-point plan that proposed allowing representatives of players, coaches, the media and supporters to vote in future presidential elections.
"The most important thing is to make this election a huge debate about the future of FIFA and soccer," it read on the homepage. "We have to open FIFA's black box."
World soccer's governing body was thrown into turmoil in May when 14 sports marketing executives and soccer officials, including several from FIFA, were indicted in the United States on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)