David Ginola paid $380,000 by bookmaker to run for FIFA presidency

Friday January 16th, 2015

Former French midfielder David Ginola has announced he will run for FIFA's president in an attempt to unseat Sepp Blatter, the BBC reports.

Before he is officially recognized as a candidate, Ginola will need to show he has the support of five soccer associations and that he has been active in the sport for at least two of the previous five years.

The 47-year-old, who most notably played for Paris St-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur, is receiving $380,000 to run from bookmaker Paddy Power, which denied it is a publicity stunt. Ginola said he will try to make FIFA more democratic and transparent.

"I'm standing because, like you, I love football," he added. "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."

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Ginola held a press conference on Friday to formally announce his candidacy, and Rob Harris of the Associated Press reports Ginola's campaign got off to a rough start.

"I need to know a lot more about FIFA," Ginola, who is known beyond football for his suave model looks and shampoo adverts, responded, looking uncharacteristically flustered.

Blatter, who is seeking a fifth term, is viewed as the overwhelming favorite to win the election.

FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and former international relations director Jerome Champagne have also announced their plans to run for the presidency.

The cutoff to announce candidacy for the position is Jan. 29, and voting will be held on May 29 in Zurich.

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- Paul Palladino

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