By Jamie Thomas.
The developments surrounding the FIFA Presidential election have been the main focus of the media, on a global scale, for some time now. Whether it be Sepp Blatter going back on his word and saying he will be standing for a fifth term in office, or Jerome Champagne announcing his intentions to run for the role, it is arguable whether or not any of these pieces of news have garnered as much media interest as the recent emergence of David Ginola as a FIFA Presidential candidate.
Ginola on Friday announced his intentions to step forward as a candidate. Many people have praised him for this and have lauded the fact that FIFA might finally be run by an ex-professional who has a real understanding for the game. Some have criticised the move as a publicity stunt and something that is not to be taken seriously. I, for one, am a firm believer of the former – FIFA should be run by a football man and Ginola certainly is that. Above all else, things need to change at FIFA and if David Ginola wants to step forward and take a crack at it then I think he should be supported in that.
I had the chance to catch up with him earlier today and, rather than format our conversation into an article, I thought that in the interest of transparency – one of Team Ginola’s key principles – I’d put the whole transcript up completely unedited.
Make of it what you will – read on to find the insights of FIFA Presidential Candidate, David Ginola:
When did you decide you wanted to do this?
We have had a lot of discussions in the last few months particularly with regards to the candidacy. I have been thinking about it for a long time but I knew it was a huge task obviously and not something that could be taken lightly but I think now is definitely the right time to do it.
How much did the recent media attention surrounding FIFA influence your decision?
Well we have been talking about that for months now and the corruption report has been the main discussion regarding FIFA. This is something we need to address and get rid of – my aim is to restore the trust and to do so we need to think differently and reorganise the whole thing and make sure that we look at whoever works at FIFA as people who do things to be very clear, very transparent and do things for the people and not behind closed doors. We need a new voice in that debate and need to add someone that is not from FIFA, an independent candidate and former football player who has something to say about all of these different matters.
What have you made of the media/public reaction to your campaign so far?
I hope that the media and the people will not be resigned to the fact that FIFA is doing what it’s doing. We need to help the people who aren’t happy with that but it is not easy – we are working very hard on this and have some great policies. We have some great policies – the first one being the tax equality and the next one is regarding equality with women’s football. This is something we will reveal in the next few days. It is important to know where we are going and important to let people know where we stand on these key issues. We are for real – it is not a stunt. We are going to run this for as long as possible because we need the support of these Football Associations to help us succeed.
– the main goal is obviously to convince these FAs that we are the best team to be backing in this case.
Have any FAs contacted you yet?
We have spoken to a few actually. A few have contacted us and we’ve contacted a few ourselves. We need their support and we will have some definite answers on that in the coming days.
Do you accept that some FAs might be on the verge of giving you support but don’t quite have the confidence in you yet and if so what would you say to those Associations?
The confidence is coming along as our policies come out. I am not a politician – I am not tied to FIFA at all – I have never worked for them and don’t know the people there inside out. The thing is to carry on unveiling our great ideas and to assure people that if I become president of FIFA those ideas will be put into place and implemented. I know people will have to trust my candidacy which is why I am trying to give them some guides with these policies and what they can expect from me. This is what needs to be done at FIFA to deal with issues in football. We talk about issues too much – we have to restore the trust in FIFA. As a world organisation, FIFA must lead by example and always do the right thing and this is actually another way that we can restore football fans trust in FIFA, and at the end of the day that is the most important thing. FAs will have to believe in this project and believe in this campaign for it to succeed and if they can bring in something different that to help us then that is fantastic.
There are five Football Associations in the UK. You need five to help you – is it fair to say you have been or will be targeting them?
If we could get those five it would be fantastic obviously. There are 209 organisations around the world that we could target and we only need five of them but to get those five would be the equivalent of climbing Everest I think but you have to take on these huge challenges to succeed so maybe I can achieve that and get right to the top.
There were rumours yesterday that you had met with the FAW and have meetings planned for today with the SFA. Can you confirm or deny these rumours?
We have planned to meet as many people as possible but we haven’t met anybody yet.
What have you made of the attitude towards the current FIFA regime in the UK? Either from fans or associations.
I think it is at a point now where we are all aware of the situation and I hope that we are all at the point now where we all want things to be done differently in FIFA. In England and the UK they are probably keener on that because they’re voicing their opinions in the media (particularly in the case of the English FA) whereas other countries worldwide may not be saying anything but they’re probably still thinking the same thing and have the same feeling.
You have a great interest in Wales. You’re doing your coaching badges here and so on. Wales is one of the first places you went to campaign. What do you think of Welsh football, The FAW and Trefor Lloyd Hughes?
Well first of all I passed my coaching badges there. I have a great relationship with the people down at Dragon Park in Newport and the Welsh people on a whole. Just to have their support would be nice but to have that support you need to believe in something and I hope they’re going to believe in me, in what we’re saying, what we want to change and so on. But despite all that I am very realistic that all people and all FAs are related so I guess once the first one joins the cause then the others might feel more confident in joining us too. We only need five to carry on the campaign and that is what is important because this campaign needs to go forward. My confidence is to see the reaction of the people and the public – they have been very supportive and behind us. This is where it counts because this is the people’s campaign and if we’re going to be successful at the end it is going to be because the people decided that David Ginola is going to be their candidate and I hope I can make the people proud.
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