June 3, 2015 / 11:29 PM / 4 years ago

Champagne calls for transparent debate on FIFA future

ZURICH (Reuters) - Former FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne has said there needs to be “transparent, democratic and meaningful debate” within world soccer’s scandal-hit governing body, but has yet to decide whether he will run again for the top job.

Jerome Champagne in Brussels January 21, 2015. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Champagne pulled out in February from the race to challenge Sepp Blatter in last week’s presidential election after failing to win sufficient backing for his bid.

Blatter the rocked the world of soccer on Tuesday by saying he would step down as FIFA president in the wake of a corruption investigation that now includes the 79-year-old chief himself.

The FBI’s investigation of bribery and corruption at FIFA includes scrutiny of how soccer’s governing body awarded World Cup hosting rights to Russia and Qatar, a U.S. law enforcement official said.

“The real question today is to do the reforms we need and to have a transparent, democratic, meaningful debate,” he told Reuters.

“But what will also be very important is that we need to have a debate with real issues, real debates, real program not a long list of slogans as politically correct, empty with details.”

Blatter announced he would resign but will remain in office until a successor is elected. The election is expected to take place between December and March.

Champagne, who pulled out of the original race having won only three nominations instead of the required five, said he would not be rushed into deciding whether to run again.

“It is way too early to decide,” he said.

“I have seen that immediately some guys are putting their name forward for, as Andy Warhol was saying, their 15 minutes of fame and celebrity.

“When I was a candidate, and as you know I was the only candidate which put on the table a very detailed program, an analysis of the game and also a concrete and realistic financial proposals.

“So far the other candidates in the past month were just a long list of slogans. So we need real debates, real program.”

Writing by Toby Davis in London; editing by Peter Rutherford

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