Champagne wants date change for Qatar World Cup

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Champagne wants date change for Qatar World Cup

= INCLUDES WHITE FLASHES =

SHOWS: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (JANUARY 26, 2016) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JEROME CHAMPAGNE TALKING ABOUT HOLDING 2022 QATAR WORLD CUP DURING WINTER, SAYING:

“It’s absolutely sensible and if I am elected president I will re-open the issue because I want to defend the European leagues, but not only the European leagues – around the world, we need to re-assess this question”

2. WHITE FLASH

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAMPAGNE SAYING:

“I think it is very good, especially in this current moment, that we send a signal to the Arab people, to the Muslim people to say ‘look, you are part of this football civilisation’; and I think this is very important, especially now, to organise the world cup in Qatar. Of course we have some issues to deal with, the investigations, workers (rights) and dates”

4. WHITE FLASH

5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAMPAGNE SAYING:

“I am absolutely appalled by the fact that both FIFA and UEFA – but especially UEFA because they were supposed to defend the interests of European football – discarded quickly the joint proposal by the European (professional) leagues association (EPFL) and the ECA (European Clubs Association) to organise the world cup not in Summer, but in the late Spring”

6. WHITE FLASH

7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAMPAGNE SAYING:

“And this proposal was discarded like that and I believe that it was (UEFA President Michel) Platini and (UEFA General Secretary Gianni) Infantino’s role to defend the European football by saying ‘no, we cannot play June 15 – July 15′”

STORY: FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne said on Tuesday (January 26) that one of the first things he will do if he wins his bid next month is to re-examine the dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, proposing to move the tournament back from November and December to late Spring.

For the 57-year-old Frenchman to get the post, Champagne has to beat off the challenge of four other men trying to replace Sepp Blatter, who was elected president in 1998 and is now banned for eight years on corruption charges, along with UEFA President Michel Platini.

Champagne was a FIFA deputy general secretary until he was dismissed after a well-documented political putsch ended his 11 years in Zurich in 2010. As well as Infantino, he faces opposition from Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan; Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa; and South African businessman and politician Tokyo Sexwale.

At the very heart of the FIFA crisis is the decision taken on December 2, 2010 to award the 2018 and 2022 world cups to Russia and Qatar.

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

FIFA decided last year to hold the 2022 Qatar world cup in the Winter because of the searing Summer heat in the Gulf.

Champagne said he would consider it a top priority to put the dates of the 2022 world cup back on the table if he wins his presidential bid.

“It’s absolutely sensible and If I am elected president I will re-open the issue because I want to defend the European leagues – but not only the European leagues – around the world, we need to re-assess this question,” Champagne said.

Staging the tournament in November and December will alter the regular season schedules of domestic leagues for possibly two years, so a move back to the Spring would be hugely popular around the world, not just in Europe.

Champagne said he stood behind the decision to give the world cup to an Arab and Muslim country.

“I think it is very good, especially in this current moment, that we send a signal to the Arab people, to the Muslim people to say: ‘look, you are part of this football civilisation’ and I think this is very important, especially now, to organize the World Cup in Qatar. Of course we have some issues to deal with, the investigations, workers (rights) and dates,” the Frenchman said.

He blamed the current FIFA executive for not taking into consideration proposals by two soccer associations to move the event.

“I am absolutely appalled by the fact that both FIFA and UEFA, but especially UEFA because they were supposed to defend the interests of European football, discarded quickly the joint proposal by the European (professional) leagues association (EPFL) and the ECA (European clubs Association) to organise the World Cup not in summer but in the late spring,” Champagne said.

“And this proposal was discarded like that and I believe that it was (UEFA president Michel) Platini and (UEFA’s general secretary Gianni) Infantino’s role to defend the European football by saying ‘no, we cannot play June 15 – July 15,'” he added.

Allegations of a corrupt Qatari bid are being investigated by the Swiss authorities and while Champagne wants the world cup to be held in a Muslim country, he says it should be moved to the United States if any of the allegations are proven.

Champagne originally attempted to stand for president in last year’s election when Blatter beat Prince Ali, but he did not get enough nominations to enter the ballot.

He was widely regarded as being too close to Blatter, but while he did work closely with the Swiss during his time at FIFA, he says everyone in this election has had a relationship with the former president. In any case, he had more than enough nominations this time.

Tags : qatar, change, Date, wants, Champagne

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