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Jerome Champagne launches FIFA presidential bid

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 20, 2014 at 11:14 am •  Published: January 20, 2014
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LONDON (AP) — Moments after stating his intention to run for FIFA president next year, Jerome Champagne hinted that he might abandon his challenge if Sepp Blatter stands for a fifth term.

Champagne, a Frenchman who is a former Blatter adviser, on Monday became the first person to declare his candidacy for football's top job, saying he will seek the five required nominations.

"We need a different FIFA, more democratic, more respected, which behaves better and which does more," said Champagne, a former diplomat who unexpectedly left FIFA in 2010 after 11 years of service.

Before being re-elected unopposed in 2011, Blatter said this would be his final four-year term. But the 77-year-old Swiss official has hinted he could go for a fifth term in 2015.

Asked if he could beat Blatter, Champagne said: "No, I don't think. He is someone of relevance."

Pressed repeatedly to say if he would stand against Blatter, Champagne responded vaguely, and avoided any criticism of Blatter's reign, which stretches back to 1998.

"I don't know what he will do," Champagne said. "I am telling you that I am standing, but I don't know what will happen in the next four months ... some people say I am manipulated by him but I tell you no."

UEFA President Michel Platini is also mulling over whether to seek the post.

Before entering football, Champagne's diplomatic postings included four years in Los Angeles as deputy consul-general. He worked as protocol chief when France hosted the 1998 World Cup, then joined FIFA soon after Blatter was elected.

Troubled relations with confederations were reportedly a factor in Champagne leaving FIFA in January 2010.

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