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No Champagne in FIFA presidential race


No Champagne in FIFA presidential race


Fifa presidential candidate Jerome Champagne has pulled out of the race to replace Sepp Blatter after failing to find sufficient backing for his bid.

The Frenchman who is a former Fifa official only received the support of three associations – he needed five to be eligible to run.

Champagne remains a fierce critic of Fifa, an organisation that he insists needs to change.

With Champagne out of the running it leaves three men to challenge 78-year-old Swiss Blatter who is seeking a fifth term in office.

Incumbent Blatter previously said he would stand down at the end of this term.

However with pledges of support from the continental confederations of Asia, Africa and South America it’s going to take some doing to knock him off top spot.

Blatter faces opposition from Asian Football Confederation vice-president Prince Ali bin Al Hussein who has promised reform based on greater transparency and a shift of focus away from administrative controversy and back to sport.

Also in the running is Dutch FA chief Michael Van Praag who has also vowed to clean up FIFA’s sullied image.

The former Ajax chairman has led his national federation since 2008.

The third and final challenger is former Portugal international Luis Figo.

The 42-year-old, like his rivals, has based his campaign on greater transparency.

He just needs to convince the majority of FIFA’s 209 member associations that he means business when they vote on May 29th.

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