According to reports across the board in Europe, former Premier League player and French international David Ginola has announced he will run for FIFA president in the upcoming elections.
Ginola will be financially backed by controversial Irish bookmaking giant Paddy Power, and will reportedly launch his campaign tomorrow in London. Whenever Paddy Power comes up, make sure you take everything with a grain of salt, so there’s your disclaimer for the rest of this post.
In order to be fully eligible for the vote, the 47-year-old still has plenty of work to do. According to FIFA statues, Ginola must prove by January 29 that he has played an “active role” in soccer for two of the last five years.
The official FIFA rule states:
“The candidate shall have played an active role in association football (as a board member, committee member, referee and assistant referee, coach, trainer and any other person responsible for technical, medical or administrative matters in FIFA, a Confederation, Association, League or Club or as a player) for two of the last five years before being proposed as a candidate.”
Ginola then much get the written support of five separate Football Associations, who can themselves only support one candidate.
If he can do that, he will be eligible to challenge incumbent Sepp Blatter for the presidency, as well as others who have announced their candidacy including Jerome Champagne, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, and Harold Mayne-Nicholls.
During his playing time, Ginola played for Paris Saint-Germain before moving to the Premier League, where he spent two years with Newcastle United, three with Tottenham Hotspur, and two with Aston Villa before a cup of coffee at Everton finished off his career in 2002. He won the PFA Premier League Player of the Year award in the 1998/99 season, and was selected to the PFA Team of the year that same season as well as in 1995/96.
He has since mostly spent his time as an actor and a soccer analyst, although he did serve as an ambassador for England’s 2018 World Cup bid. It sounds like he will have a hard time proving his involvement in the game for two of the last five years, but if he’s putting this much investment into running, and he has the financial backing of a significant institution, many must be convinced he can make it. Unless this is another one of those ridiculous Paddy Power PR stunts…which it very well may be.