FIFA candidate Champagne courts Europe support over Qatar World Cup

Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:50am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Mike Collett

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne said that as head of soccer's governing body he would seek to move the 2022 Qatar World Cup from November-December to late European spring - a step that would please European associations by averting disruption of their season.

The 57-year-old Frenchman also accused Swiss rival Gianni Infantino, who according to UEFA has the broad support of European nations, of abandoning the region's soccer interests in backing the change in timing of the tournament from traditional mid-year to avoid searing Gulf summer heat.

Champagne told Reuters in an interview he did not believe the graft allegations that have pitched FIFA into the worst crisis in its 112-year history meant the organization itself was corrupt "no matter what some people might like to believe".

At the heart of the FIFA crisis is a 2010 decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

In the weeks and months leading up to the announcement, there were widespread allegations of vote-trading, bribery and corruption, with two FIFA executive committee members suspended even before the voting took place.

Both host nations deny any wrongdoing.


FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne of France attends a news conference at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, January 27, 2016.   REUTERS/Francois Lenoir