By Simon Evans
ZURICH (Reuters) – Former France winger David Ginola is ready to run for the FIFA presidency but said on Tuesday it was reckless to keep the Feb. 26 election date.
Football’s governing body, submerged in the worst crisis in its 111-year history, confirmed earlier in the day that the election to replace outgoing president Sepp Blatter would go ahead on its scheduled date.
“In light of recent developments in France and at FIFA, a great many people have asked me to run an independent campaign for FIFA president,” said Ginola in a statement sent to Reuters.
“This is a challenge I would proudly accept yet the first priority should be delaying the election and bringing sanity to the process.
“FIFA has no credibility, authority or mandate to hold an election while there are ongoing multi-national criminal and internal investigations of key FIFA executives,” added Ginola.
Blatter has been provisionally banned for 90 days alongside the president of European football’s ruling body UEFA, Michel Platini.
Frenchman Platini had been favourite to replace the Swiss incumbent but his hopes have been thrown into doubt after he was placed under an ethics investigation.
FIFA has been engulfed in crisis since May when 14 football officials and sports marketing executives were indicted in the United States on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges involving more than $150 million in payments.
Swiss authorities have also launched a criminal investigation into the decision to award the hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.
Candidates must register their presidential bids by Monday and then face an integrity check within 10 days.
FIFA has said it would not process the registration of candidates who are suspended although their situation could be reviewed if they win an appeal against the ban.
Ginola also briefly launched a bid for last May’s election but withdrew when he failed to gain the written nominations of the five national football associations that are required under electoral rules.
The former Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United winger said it was high time FIFA changed those regulations in order to allow fresh blood into the administration of the sport.
“In recent years the FIFA presidential election rules have been further skewed to favour incumbents and insiders that keep out new people and new ideas,” said Ginola.
So far, as well as Platini, Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder David Nakhid have submitted nominations and announced their candidacy.
Asian football chief Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain and another former Tottenham player, ex-Swiss international Ramon Vega, are also considering bids.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Tony Jimenez)