Presidential candidate Champagne wants a more humble FIFA

Fri Oct 30, 2015 3:24pm EDT
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne wants soccer's crisis-hit government body to be less formal and more humble in the future.

FIFA has been buffeted by scandals that have seen both outgoing president Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini, previously considered the favorite to take over, both suspended for 90 days.

In addition to allegations of corruption, FIFA has been criticized for its extravagance, with officials enjoying a five-star lifestyle that includes private jets and banquets in opulent palaces.

"There are a lot of things I think we need to improve in terms of style," Champagne, one of seven candidates for the February election, told Reuters.

The former French diplomat, who worked in various roles at FIFA from 1999 to 2010, said he wanted to reduce costs by five percent across all areas except development programs.

"We can definitely save some costs on the administration and on the World Cup," he said.

"The reconstruction of FIFA's image will be achieved only if there is a change of style, which is more open to the people, more accessible and to some extent more humble," he added.

"But at the same time, we are not going to stop paying electricity bills and use candles, just to look better ... or travel with a donkey and a cart because it would be more populist."   Continued...

Former FIFA official Jerome Champagne speaks during a Reuters interview in Zurich June 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann