Jerome Champagne pulls out of FIFA presidential race

BY foxsports • February 2, 2015

Jerome Champagne has announced he has withdrawn his FIFA president candidacy after failing to secure the minimum five nominations required.

Champagne announced his withdrawal in a letter to national associations where he blamed UEFA and the "institutions" mobilising to eliminate him.

He said he had secured three nominations but other associations feared reprisals if they backed him.

It means FIFA president Sepp Blatter will face challenges from Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, Dutch Football Association president Michael van Praag and former Portugal international Luis Figo. All three of the challengers are campaigning on a reforming programme with support from UEFA.

Champagne said in his letter: "I regret to have to announce that I have not presented the five sponsorship letters needed to be registered as a candidate in the election of 29 May.

"I warmly thank the three federations that have endorsed me and the many presidents who explained with candour and friendship, that they could not do it despite their interest in my program.

"The reasons were numerous. Because they feared reprisals from their confederations having issued "recommendations". Because their federations were candidates to host continental competitions. Because they relied too heavily on the financial support. Because they were committed to defend a united continental front."

Champagne is a former FIFA deputy general secretary and has been a fierce critic of UEFA's.

He added in his letter: "The institutions have mobilized to eliminate the only independent candidate.

"The latest events orchestrated in secret with barely veiled intentions by one of them, distributing letters of support between candidates, made me lose sponsorships especially in Europe!

"The hidden agenda - or not so hidden after all - is clear: under the guise of reforming FIFA lies the objective of further weakening it in favour of continental structures. This at a time when a strong governance of football, with regulatory and redistributive powers, is needed more than ever. It constitutes the perennial vision of UEFA since 1998!

"It is also to pave the road for the wealthy actors of the West European football to get their hands on the last thing they do not control yet: FIFA and the world government of football."


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