Champagne ‘not out of FIFA race’

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Published: Tuesday 13th January 2015 by The News Editor

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FIFA presidential hopeful Jerome Champagne insists he is not being squeezed out of the race despite Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein entering the contest.

Champagne, the French former FIFA deputy general secretary, has conceded that gaining the minimum five nominations may not be straightforward but rejected suggestions that the Jordanian prince’s decision to run against Sepp Blatter has made things more difficult.

He claimed that Europe is not united behind Prince Ali and pointed out that the Arab football world, lead by Asian confederation president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, had already declared for Blatter.

He told Press Association Sport: ” Prince Ali is not squeezing anyone – look at who the Arab leaders are supporting.

“I am not squeezed at all and Prince Ali has not issued any programme yet, just slogans.

“UEFA and [president] Michel Platini have made strong statements in favour of Prince Ali but Europe is not united, it is very diverse, and I don’t feel the squeeze at all.

“I welcome Prince Ali’s candidacy as it is important for the future of football to have an open, democratic process but I am the only one who has placed on the table a detailed, concrete and financially viable list of proposals.”

Champagne expanded on an interview last week in which he said it was easier to win 50 votes in a secret ballot than the five nominations, and said he was still working flat out on his campaign.

Nominations for the presidency have to be in before January 29, with the election being held in Zurich on May 29.

He added: “I am in full activity and I am continuing the style of the campaign to convince people. I am speaking to a lot of federation presidents in order to explain my ideas and I feel very optimistic.

“But I have said it is more difficult to gain five open published letters of nomination than 50 voters in secret ballot.”

Champagne, 56, said this was due to all the confederations except CONCACAF, which represents football in north and central America and the Caribbean, having already taken a position in support of either Blatter or Prince Ali.

UEFA has yet to formally declare but its president Platini has made it clear he will not support 78-year-old Blatter for a fifth term.

Published: Tuesday 13th January 2015 by The News Editor

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