ZURICH: FIFA presidential campaign Jerome Champagne wants a fundamental reconstruction of the world football federation’s development support system writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
One element could see rich nations allocating a percentage of their television rights to the development programme.
Critics of FIFA have viewed the development programmes with suspicion, even after recent management reforms, because of concerns over political influence and patronage.
Frenchman Champagne, who launched his campaign in London in January, addresses this in his latest thesis circulated among the game’s 200-plus national associations.
Champagne, who spent 11 years in senior roles within FIFA until his ousting in January 2010, believes that the future health of world football is threatening by an increasing financial imbalance.
Hence the importance of a development support programme which opens up equal opportunities for progress among federations in the developing world.
Champagne is proposing a ‘FIFA world high council for football development’ which would bring together organisers of cash-rich competitions (FIFA, confederations, associations, leagues) and representatives of beneficiary federations.
He says: “The high council’s tasks would include the definition of development strategies and programs with capacity to decide and monitor in order to ensure the transparency and the traceability of the earmarked funds.”
A ‘world fund’ managed by the high council would aggregate existing funds and would also receive a contribution calculated on a percentage of internationally-sold TV rights. This would include rich nations allocating a percentage of their television rights to the development programme.
Efficiency and justice
Champagne explains: “For more efficiency as well as more justice, one could imagine a system where funds made available from the TV rights sold in a particular country would be earmarked as a ‘return’ to that particular country to ‘compensate’ and strengthen local football.”
He believes that the original development strategy of financing administrative facilities had been accomplished; now was the time for development cash to be invested in growing domestic club and competition systems.
Oceania and the Caribbean were regions worthy of priority consideration.
Champagne says: “The club is the basic cell of our sport and it is around the clubs where the future of football, of youth training and the success of the national teams will be at stake.”
So far Champagne is the only contender to declare himself a candidate for the presidential election in May next year. Current president Sepp Blatter is expected, during Congress in Sao Paulo in June, to confirm a wish to carry on. A challenge from UEFA’s French leader Michel Platini is looking increasingly unlikely.