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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Champagne wants to restore balance

With less than two months until the 2014 World Cup, Rio de Janeiro claims it is ready to host the World Cup.

FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne says the organisation must do more to tackle inequality in football.

• Man City pay sport's highest wages - survey

Champagne, 55, is a former FIFA executive and could face the current president, Sepp Blatter, as well as UEFA president Michel Platini in the May 2015 election.

The former French diplomat told Le Parisien that the lack of a level playing field is damaging the game.

Jerome Champagne
Champagne is a contender to be the next president of FIFA.

“Inequality between the continents and inside certain countries -- the German or Spanish league for example -- is growing,” he said.

“It’s FIFA’s duty to struggle to preserve the universality of the game to avoid it transforming into an NBA, where only about 15 clubs would be at the top and the rest lagging behind.

“The last 16 of the Champions League this season showed huge gaps. It’s the responsibility of FIFA and the other institutions of football to protect the uncertainty of results.”

Champagne, who has been working as a football consultant, said he does not feel that Platini had succeeded in restoring the balance.

He added: “The Champions League is becoming a more and more elitist competition. The Europa League is monopolised by teams fished out from the Champions League.

“Financial fair play is a good idea. No entity should spend more than it earns. We’ll have to see how it’s applied over time.

“For the moment, the punishment has focused on small Romanian, Portuguese or Serbian clubs. It is a good idea but financial fair play does not respond to the problem, which is the disparity in the redistribution of money.

“Thirty-two clubs collect 85 percent of the money from the Champions League. It’s pointless at the moment to hope that a Norwegian, Bulgarian or French club -- that is not the property of a foreign state -- can go a long way in European competitions.”

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