February 24, 2016 / 3:56 PM / 3 years ago

FIFA candidate Champagne complains over election observers

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

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne plans to protest to sport’s highest tribunal about the number of observers who will be allowed into the hall for Friday’s election, saying he believed they were working for his rivals.

The Frenchman said he had written to FIFA’s electoral commission about the issue and, following its reply, had instructed his lawyers to lodge a protest at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Champagne, one of five candidates standing for the presidency of soccer’s global body, said he was doing it as a matter of principal and was not asking for Friday’s election to be suspended. “It’s just about pointing the finger at that problem,” he told reporters.

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.

The complaint by Champagne came a day after lawyers for another presidential candidate, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, said they had requested a suspension of the election after his call for transparent voting booths was rejected last week.

Reporting by Brian Homewood

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