FIFA candidate Champagne protests over election observers

Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:42pm EST
 
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne has protested to soccer's world governing body about the number of observers allowed into the hall for Friday's election, saying he believed they were working for his rivals.

Champagne said 20 observers' credentials had been given to European ruling body UEFA, whose general secretary Gianni Infantino is running for the FIFA job, and seven to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), whose chief Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa is also a FIFA presidential candidate.

In a letter to FIFA’s electoral commission, seen by Reuters, Champagne said the presence of observers from the confederations could unfairly influence Friday's poll because they would have access to the voting delegates.

He told Reuters by telephone that the accreditations he was complaining about were in addition to the eight granted to each candidate and their teams.

A spokesman for the electoral committee said accreditation was in the hands of FIFA, who could not immediately be reached for comment.

GRAFT SCANDAL

Each of FIFA's 209-member national soccer associations (FAs) hold one vote at the poll in which five candidates are vying to be elected to lead the global soccer body out of the worst graft scandal in its history.   Continued...

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