ZURICH: This is the statement issued today by Jerome Champagne concerning his candidacy for the presidency of FIFA:

Distinguished Presidents of FIFA member associations; Officers and Officials of federations, confederations, leagues, clubs and players’ associations; Friends of football: 

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 candor 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. Because some of the presidents were themselves

engaged in an election or simply preferred another candidate.

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!

I also note that I would have been a candidate with the old version of the rules, and that I cannot be one with the new modifications adopted in 2013 on a UEFA proposal.

Despite the disappointment, I do not feel any bitterness because I know how the pyramidal structure of football works.

The script of the next few weeks and months calls for proxy candidates to wage the battles that others did not have the courage to fight, and for some to go forward as surrogates of private and institutional interests:

The campaign could turn to pointing Manichean fingers at one person, the President of FIFA, to avoid recognizing a collective responsibility of the Executive Committee, where a confederation with a third of the vote, UEFA, believes that it can decide everything.

* Rivalries between people and institutions will be vividly highlighted.

* So-called programs will appear with a list of high-sounding slogans and little precise substance. Proposals will be touted, smelling of demagoguery and politicking, such as increasing the number of teams in the finals of the World Cup. And certainly some “copy and paste” sections directly from my program.

* 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 favor 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.

For my part, I am determined to continue to participate in the debate on the future of football and FIFA with all my conviction, but with limited means; not as a candidate but again as a citizen of football.

I will continue to defend the institutional reforms necessary to return to national federations the power that is theirs, to rebalance the composition of the Executive Committee of FIFA between continents for a fairer representation, and to involve players, clubs and leagues in the

decision making process.

I will continue to campaign for a more open and transparent FIFA, accessible to all.

I will continue to strongly affirm that the dramatic increase in inequality observed over the last decade in football endangers its universality, diminishes equal opportunities, reduces the uncertainty of the sporting outcome and competitions. All for the benefit of an increasingly smaller number of elite clubs.

How can we tolerate, and not want to change, a situation where the 20 richest clubs in Western Europe have an annual turnover of 6.2 billion Euros (source Deloitte & Touche) while:

* More than half of the federations live on less than $2 million a year,

* The club ranked 20 in the English league brings in more money by itself than all the 18 clubs in the Dutch Eredivisie combined,

* African and South American leagues are depleted from their talented players for the benefit of Europe,

* Little or none of the TV rights sold outside Western Europe are redistributed to local football.

FIFA, always so unjustly criticized, redistributes the proceeds from the World Cup,

* Clubs with small debts from “small” Championships are excluded from continental competitions while rich clubs see their supremacy enshrined,

* The departure of the best young players to the richest clubs under the guise of freedom of movement, competition formats and money redistribution mechanisms are creators of inequalities.

They seriously affect national competitions and increasingly make them

unbalanced and predictable.

How dare one try to make us believe that what is good for Chelsea and Real Madrid is automatically beneficial to Jamaican, Vietnamese, Senegalese, Bolivian, Tahitian or Moldovan football?

The slogans put forward by the three candidates supported by UEFA clearly show that no one dares to question the central cause of the current problems of football.

It is most likely the price of this support and proof that it is not about football, but a purely political game!

I am pleased to see that some of my proposals are being supported, such as the possibility for coaches to challenge referee decisions through video, or my orange card for temporary expulsion which has been repainted white, or to learn that offers were made to FIFPro to integrate executive committees.

Finally, I will announce in due course the name of the candidate that I will support based on the agenda and his positions with regard to the global issues of governance.

In short, I will refuse simplistic and demagogic attitudes in favor of reflection and reform. See you soon!

Kind regards

www.jeromechampagne2015.com contact@jeromechampagne2015.com https://twitter.com/JChampagne2015

Jerome Champagne

Zurich, January 31, 2015