News 23 February 2016

Champagne attacks ‘gross violation’ of election fair play

Jerome Champagne has expressed his ‘stupefaction’ to the FIFA electoral committee about the number of observers from the Asian and European federations being admitted to Friday’s congressThe Frenchman, pictured, one of the five presidency candidates and a former senior official of the world football federation, fears support staff members lobbying on the floor of congress for rival candidates Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Gianni Infantino.

The head of the Asian confederation AFC and the general secretary of European federation UEFA are generally accepted as front-runners in the battle to succeed disgraced and banned Sepp Blatter. Champagne wants FIFA’s Electoral Committee Chairman, Domenico Scala, to cancel 20 extra passes for observers from UEFA and seven for the AFC.

In a letter to Scala, Champagne wrote: ‘Candidates are supposed to be treated equally (for example, with the same number of accreditations for ‘team companions’) [but] the quantities of additional accreditations, 20 for UEFA and seven for the AFC, betray a gross violation of the principle of fairness’. Champagne noted that the observers included ‘most of the members of these two candidates’ campaign teams’.

He also objected that Sheikh Salman appeared to using ‘his position as a FIFA vice-president to obtain additional access privileges for some “guests”. This reveals the objective to swamp the congress hall with confederation employees able to access the voting FAs and their delegates.’ The Frenchman may take his complaint about “these unfair and undue privileges” to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

• This article was originally published on Keir Radnedge’s internet site on 22 February. To view the original, please click here.

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