Factbox: FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne
LONDON (Reuters) - Factbox on Frenchman Jerome Champagne, one of five candidates standing for the FIFA presidency in an election on Feb. 26:
- Born in Paris on June 15, 1958
- The 57-year-old Frenchman held senior positions at FIFA before leaving the organisation in 2010.
- Was the first to declare he was running in the 2015 presidential election in January 2014, but later pulled out when he could not get the backing of the mandatory five FAs needed to secure a place in the race.
- Completed his education in 1981 after gaining degrees at the Institute of Political Sciences of Paris and the Institute of Oriental Languages.
- Joined France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1983 and during his career as a diplomat served in Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman, Havana, Paris, Los Angeles and Brasilia.
- Became Deputy Consul General in Los Angeles where, during the build-up to the 1994 World Cup in the United States, he met the leaders of the Organising Committee for the 1998 World Cup in France, among them Michel Platini and later Sepp Blatter.
- Left the French diplomatic service in 1997 and began working for the French World Cup Organising Committee as diplomatic adviser and Chief of Protocol under Platini.
- Blatter, then FIFA's secretary general, invited him to join FIFA as his international adviser when he became president in 1998.
- Has always been closely linked with the now-banned Blatter and has never criticised him publicly, despite calling for huge reforms at FIFA.
- Champagne quickly established himself as one of the most influential members of the organisation, involved in a host of initiatives including building better relationships with the European Union, the International Olympic Committee, FIFpro - the international players union - and many others.
- Was FIFA's Deputy Secretary General between 2002 and 2005, and was their Director of International Relations from 2007 until he left FIFA in 2010 after political infighting cost him his position.
- Since 2010, Champagne has worked as an independent international football consultant, often in association with FIFA and has helped broker a new initiative in Cyprus involving the Greek and Turkish FAs who signed a declaration last November aiming to unify football on the island for the first time since 1955.
- He has also worked on gaining recognition for Kosovo, which means FIFA members can play friendlies against Kosovo, although it is not yet a member of FIFA.
- In 2012 he issued a 26-page 20,000 word document entitled "What FIFA for the 21st Century?".
- Key points of Champagne's FIFA election manifesto:
- Is against any expansion of the World Cup to 40 teams.
- He would re-organise FIFA's current grants system which sees the richest FAs getting the same grants as the poorest. Most of the money, he says, would go to the poorest members.
- William Hill odds to win presidency: 66/1
- William Hill odds for the other candidates: 8/15 Sheikh Salman; 6/4 Gianni Infantino, 8/1, Prince Ali; 66/1 Tokyo Sexwale.
(Reporting by Mike Collett; Editing by Andrew Heavens)