Former Blatter aide sets out reform plan

Former Blatter aide sets out reform plan

Published Jan. 17, 2012 9:26 p.m. ET

A former adviser to FIFA President Sepp Blatter has his own ideas on how soccer's governing body can modernize itself and prevent more corruption scandals.

Jerome Champagne left FIFA unexpectedly two years ago, but sent his proposals to 208 national soccer associations ahead of Thursday's panel meeting as part of President Sepp Blatter's reforms.

The former French diplomat says his scandal-hit former employer faces a ''severe crisis'' because of corruption allegations.

''If we want to really have a strong governance of the game ... we need a strong FIFA,'' he said by telephone Tuesday. ''I want FIFA to be relevant in the 21st century, but we can't govern football the way that we did in the first 150 years.''


The 25-page proposal is a direct appeal to FIFA and national bodies while in effect bypassing soccer's six continental confederations.

Champagne, who declined to discuss his departure, expressed admiration for FIFA and his belief that soccer can ''help the world to be better.''

His intervention is likely to be viewed as an early indicator he is interested in succeeding Blatter, who has promised to step down in 2015, but he insisted he's only trying to help.

''I am only a citizen of world football,'' he said. ''I put my contribution on the table. How it will be implemented or discussed for the moment is not the debate.''

Champagne wants the FIFA president to have more power to enact his agenda while a bigger democratic voice is given to national associations, clubs, leagues and players.

He urges a fairer spread of wealth, and suggests soccer's future is jeopardized by the global popularity of Europe's top leagues. He proposes a levy on international broadcast deals to create a soccer investment fund for poorer and smaller nations.

Before entering soccer, 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.