Soccer-FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne

Reuters

Jan 20 (Reuters) - A factbox on Jerome Champagne, a 55-year-old Frenchman who held senior positions at world soccer's governing body FIFA before leaving the organisation in 2010 and announced on Monday he will stand in next year's FIFA presidential elections.

Born: June 15 1958 in Paris

Completed his education in 1981 after gaining degrees at the Institute of Political Sciences of Paris and the Institute of Oriental Languages.

Joined France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1983 and during his career as a diplomat served in Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman, Havana in Cuba, Paris, Los Angeles and Brasilia.

Became Deputy Consul General in Los Angeles where, during the build-up to the 1994 World Cup in the United States, he met the leaders of the Organising Committee for the 1998 World Cup in France, among them Michel Platini.

Left the French diplomatic service in 1997 and began working for the French World Cup Organising Committee as diplomatic advisor and Chief of Protocol under Platini.

Also met Sepp Blatter, then FIFA's secretary general, who succeeded Joao Havelange as FIFA president in 1998.

After becoming president, Blatter invited Champagne to join FIFA as an international advisor, the start of his 11-year career at world soccer's governing body.

Champagne quickly established himself as one of the most important and influential members of the organisation and was involved in a host of initiatives including building better relationships with the European Union, the International Olympic Committee, FIFpro - the international players union - and many others.

He was also involved in the "Win in Africa with Africa" project, helped organise Blatter's winning presidential election campaign in 2002 and backed Blatter's plans for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

He was FIFA's Deputy Secretary General between 2002 and 2005, worked on special projects between 2005 and 2007 and was their Director of International Relations from 2007 until he left FIFA in 2010 after political infighting cost him his position.

Since 2010 Champagne has worked as an independent international football consultant and as such and in association with FIFA, has helped bring a possible rapproachment between Israel and Palestine.

He has also helped broker a new inititaive in Cyprus involving the Greek and Turkish FAs who signed a declaration last November aiming to unify football on the island for the first time since 1955.

He has also worked on gaining recognition for Kosovo, a move FIFA announced Jan.13, when it announced that its members coulod play friendlies against Kosovo, not yet a member of FIFA.

In 2012 he issued a 26-page 20,000 word document entitled "What FIFA for the 21st Century?" outling his ideas that would transform and reform the game for the better. Subsequent papers further detailed his ideas for the future.

He is married with three children, lives in Zurich and supports French club St Etienne. (Reporting by Mike Collett, editing by Mitch Phillips)

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