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Russia plan squad purge for World Cup

Russia
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 By Mark Rodden

Jerome Champagne: Gianni Infantino would be 'considerable risk' for FIFA

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti and Jeremy Schaap weigh in on Gianni Infantino's appointment as the new president of FIFA.

FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne has warned against electing Gianni Infantino to the top job in world football.

Champagne, 57, and Infantino, 45, are among five people in contention to become FIFA president at Friday's election.

Candidates are making their final pitches to secure votes for Friday's election to succeed Sepp Blatter.

The first confederations meeting on Thursday were the CONCACAF and Oceania regions.

Infantino is UEFA's general secretary and is also acting as president of European football's governing body in the wake of Michel Platini's ban from football

Infantino and Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the president of the Asian Football Confederation, are the favourites ahead of the election.

But Champagne, who spent over a decade at FIFA before being fired in January 2010, feels he is better placed to restore some balance.

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"The situation in football is worrying," he told L'Equipe. "Near my house, here in Zurich, there's a playing area with six pitches, five of which are natural and one of which is artificial.

"That's as many as are in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has a population of 80 million people.

"The situation in European football is also bad. People talk up the Champions League but that only becomes competitive from the quarterfinals on.

"The reforms that were made were cosmetic.

"I have nothing against Gianni Infantino but the strength of development in football in the past 40 years is to have had a strong FIFA to balance the domination and power of European football.

"To give the keys of FIFA to UEFA would be a considerable risk."

Meanwhile, Infantino is optimistic that he can secure enough votes to win the election.

"I'm very confident," he told L'Equipe. "I travelled to 70 countries and spoke with about 150 presidents of national federations.

"All the discussions that I had lead me to be confident. Here in Zurich I'm in the final sprint to convince people."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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