David Ginola Backed By Paddy Power In £2.3M Crowdfunding Campaign To Replace Fifa President Sepp Blatter

Paddy Power has launched a £2.3 million crowdfunding campaign to oust Sepp Blatter as the president of world football body Fifa.

The bookmaker is backing unlikely candidate David Ginola, the French former Newcastle and Tottenham and midfielder, who will try to challenge beleaguered Blatter's 17-year presidency.

Paddy Power says it wants Ginola to replace "much discredited" 79-year-old Blatter who is attempting to win a fifth term at the helm of the world football body, which has recently been plagued by corruption allegations.

Retired footballer Ginola is an unlikely candidate after moving into wine making over a decade ago

Ginola is running under the banner "Rebooting football" and promises to bring “democracy, transparency and equality” to the game. Paddy Power is backing Ginola in the campaign with ChangeFIFA, a movement to make football governance more accountable.

Ginola - who has reportedly worked in wine making since retiring from football in 2002 - is considered a dark horse.

He will need the support of five football associations and must show "active involvement in football" for two of the past five years to be eligible.

He reportedly focuses on pursuits including wine making and modeling, but is a contributor to football coverage on channels including BBC and Sky, as well as appearing on BT Sport, where he made an obscene gesture in 2013, apparently not realising he was on air.

Paddy Power is asking football fans visit and make a donation, and is hoping to £2.3 million to fund the campaign.

Paddy Power is no stranger to controversial sporting moves: it featured Ukip leader Nigel Farage in a recent campaign and offered odds on the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, promising "money back if he walks" after the double-amputee athlete was accused of killing his girlfriend.

The advert was placed in UK and Ireland newspapers

Blatter's presidency since 1998 has been dogged by allegations of corruption.

He was cleared of any wrongdoing in the organisation's 2013 investigation into allegations of illegal payments to Fifa officials from its bankrupt marketing partner International Sports and Leisure. His predecessor resigned over the claims.

Fifa itself has also been mired in controversy, after Qatar's shock win to host the 2022 World Cup tournament led to widespread claims that Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam, a former Fifa executive committee member, paid Fifa officials £3 million in bribes to secure the vote.

Fifa's own investigation was declared a shambles after it found there was no evidence to justify stripping Qatar of the tournament - despite the lead investigator on the report saying the summary version that was released contained "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions." Fifa has now agreed to release the full report.

The Fifa presidency election will be held in Zurich on 29 May. Others who have express interest include Fifa vice president, Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein of Jordan.

Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the ex-Chilean football federation president, and a former Fifa official, Jérôme Champagne have also thrown their hats into the ring, and are considered more likely winners than dark horse Ginola.

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