David Ginola set to challenge Blatter
David Ginola will challenge Sepp Blatter’s presidency of Fifa in what could prove one big publicity stunt as it is unclear whether Ginola, who first moved to the Premier League with Newcastle from Paris Saint-Germain in 1995 and played in England for a further seven years, will fulfil the criteria as a Fifa candidate. He will need the backing of at least five national associations and will have to demonstrate active involvement in football administration for at least two of the last five years. Ginola is inviting members of the public and other organisations to join Team Ginola in a bid to challenge Blatter for the presidency. His bid has the backing of pressure group ChangeFIFA, which has long campaigned for new leadership at the top of an organisation that has faced numerous allegations of corruption.
Ginola declared: “I’m standing because like everyone, I love football. Whether you are on the terraces or on the pitch we all know that the Fifa system isn’t working. The game needs to change, but I can’t change it on my own. I need you to stand up and change it with me. I need you in my team. By joining Team Ginola you are saying yes to a Fifa built on democracy, transparency and equality. You are saying ‘yes’ to a Fifa which cares about one thing…football.”
Ginola would needs to secure the backing of five national federations, followed by a four-month campaigning period before elections at Fifa Congress on May 29 in which all 209 of the world governing body’s national associations have a vote. Most appear to have already pledged their support to Blatter, who is controversially seeking a fifth term in office.
Two other men have confirmed their intention to stand against him, one of his vice-presidents, Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, and Frenchman Jerome Champagne. Champagne, a former senior official at Fifa, admitted last week that he was unable to guarantee the necessary support before this month’s deadline. The ex-head of Fifa’s technical committee, Harold Mayne-Nicholls, has also expressed an interest in running but has yet to formally declare an intention to do so. The election is therefore likely to be a straight fight between Blatter and Prince Ali, who himself faces seemingly insurmountable odds, particularly after his own Asian Football Confederation refused to withdraw its support for the Swiss.
Ginola would arguably win a public vote for the presidency, having obtained global popularity for his exploits on the field, particularly in the Premier League. He was crowned double Footballer of the Year in 1999 after helping Spurs win the League Cup and played for Aston Villa and Everton before retiring in 2002. However, the involvement of a bookmaker notorious for its dubious marketing tactics will inevitably raise questions about the motives behind the endeavour.