KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne has promised to mend the broken relationship with the Football Association if he is elected next May.
Frenchman Champagne is the only formally declared candidate for the election though Blatter has said he will tell the executive committee that he intends to stand for a fifth term.
England’s hot-and-cold relationship with the world governing body hit freezing point after the failure of the 2018 World Cup bid was followed by a failed rebellion against Blatter the last time he was re-elected in 2011.
Relations have not improved since then with FA chairman Greg Dyke calling twice in the last three months on Blatter to quit.
Champagne, in a BBC World Service interview, said: “I want to reconcile FIFA with English football . . . I want to run FIFA in developing the world hand-in-hand with the English FA and English football. We have the same missions and goals.”
Blatter has led FIFA since 1998 after 23 years in senior management roles but Champagne disagrees with Dyke’s view that an age limit should apply.
Champagne said: “Everyone has the right to run and everyone has the right to change his opinion.
“Mr Blatter has done a lot of good things in the past 40 years.”
Michel Platini, president of UEFA, has been increasingly critical of Blatter over the past year though the 78-year-old supported him in ousting Lennart Johansson as the European federation leader.
However Platini has refused to stand against Blatter himself.