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Former FIFA official Champagne confirms plan to challenge Blatter for presidency

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ZURICH — Former FIFA international relations director Jerome Champagne has confirmed his plan to challenge Sepp Blatter for the presidency next year.

Champagne writes on his campaign website that he informed FIFA's election supervisor, Domenico Scala, of his decision.

The French former diplomat launched his campaign in January, and said even then that he doubted he could beat Blatter.

Blatter, the president since 1998, intend to announce his candidacy next week in Zurich after meeting FIFA's executive committee.

Candidates must have support from five FIFA member federations by late January.

Scala, who heads FIFA's audit and compliance committee, chairs a three-member panel overseeing the May 29 election.

They will decide if Champagne is eligible. Candidates must have had an "active role" in football for two of the past five years.

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