Champagne to challenge Blatter for FIFA presidency

Frenchman Jerome Champagne has confirmed that he intends to run for the FIFA presidency and stand against current incumbent Sepp Blatter in the 2015 election, the Guardian has reported.

The 56-year-old previously worked for world football’s governing body between 1999 and 2010, as an executive. In the years since leaving, he has advised a number of the world’s football associations, and was world commissioner for the World Festival of Black Arts in the Senegalese capital Dakar.

After UEFA president Michel Platini decided against standing in the election, it seemed that Blatter may stand unopposed, as he eventually did in 2011, but Champagne released a statement on his website confirming his desire to stand as a candidate.

“I have the honour of informing you that I have just written to Fifa to confirm my intention to run for president,’ it read. ‘On a personal level, I am happy that the debate about the future of Fifa and football has finally begun with the prospect of various candidates.

“First and foremost, debating about issues is a normal process in an institution based on democratic principles. Then, this debate is particularly indispensable for football.

“The next 10 years will be crucial for football and very particularly for Fifa, which is at a crossroads and in need of sweeping changes that must take it further than what has been accomplished to date.”

Blatter originally stated back in 2011 that he would not stand for a fifth term, but has since changed his mind and confirmed recently that he would stand again. The Swiss has led football since 1998, when he took over from Joao Havelange, and will hope to earn four more years from May 2015.

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