Former French international David Ginola announced Friday he will seek to challenge Sepp Blatter for the presidency of FIFA, football‘s global governing body, in an election this year.
“I am standing for FIFA president and I need you on my team,” Ginola said on his Twitter account.
“It is time that football was refreshed,” Ginola told the Sun tabloid. “We have to be brave and deal with what is going on in this game we love.”
He added: “I know it will not be easy for me to be elected but I have to try. I always did my best on the pitch and I will do the same now.”
The ex-Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur player confirmed his challenge at a London news conference.
Bookmaker Paddy Power is sponsoring what is the most unusual of the three announced challengers to Blatter, the overwhelming favourite to win the May 29 election.
And there are doubts whether Ginola will get into the contest. Candidates must have played an active role in football administration for two of the past five years and be nominated by five member associations — something many pundits feel Ginola has little chance of achieving.
Ginola, 47, follows fellow Frenchman Jerome Champagne, a former FIFA official, and Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, a FIFA vice-president.
Potential candidates have until January 29 to put their names forward. The FIFA Congress with the election will be held in Zurich in May.
Blatter, 78, who has been at the top of FIFA since 1998 is widely expected to secure a fifth successive term in office.
After moving to England in 1995, Ginola — who had made his name with Paris Saint-Germain — played for several Premier League clubs, notably Tottenham and Newcastle, as well as Aston Villa and Everton.
Renowned for his model good looks and flowing hair, as much as his football skill, Ginola — capped 17 times by France — was named England’s Footballer of the Year in 1999, the same year he helped Spurs win the League Cup.
Since retiring as a player, Ginola has worked as an actor and model but has retained an interest infootball as a television pundit and through involvement with clubs in Asia and France.
He also campaigned for England’s unsuccessful bid to stage the 2018 World Cup, which attracted a mere two votes in the 2010 ballot of FIFA members that awarded the tournament to Russia. – Agence France-Presse