Former French star David Ginola is planning to take on incumbent Sepp Blatter during the FIFA presidency elections later this year. Blatter, who has been in the job for 17 controversial years and usually runs as the only candidate, could finally see his reign come to an end. Ginola has the backing of Irish sportsbook Paddy Power as well as public relations firm M&C Saatchi.
The 47-year-old is well known in Britain as he played much of his 17-year career in England with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Everton, and Aston Villa. He also played with French Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain. However, he has his work cut out for him as the 78-year-old Blatter may have the backing he needs from the 209 FIFA members because many countries are happy with the system the way it is.
Ginola signed with Newcastle in 1995 when the Premier League was just a few years old and overseas players were still somewhat rare. English fans appreciated his flair, creativity, and talent and he’s still a popular figure there. His stint in the northeast didn’t last too long though as Ginola soon found himself in London with Tottenham when he was transferred in the summer of 1997. Ginola was voted the Premier League player of the year by the players’ association in 1999 and he also won the League Cup with Spurs.
Ginola has worked as a football analyst on UK and French television since retiring from football in 2002 and his hoping his popularity will garner him some votes in the election. However, to become eligible to run against Blatter, Ginola needs five FIFA member associations to back him. In addition, it looks like Frenchman Jerome Champagne and Prince Ali of Jordan are also planning to take Blatter on during the balloting as both of them have publicly announced they’re going to run for his job when the May election arrives.