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Spurs and Newcastle legend David Ginola could see his Fifa bid de-railed

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Former Spurs and Newcastle legend, David Ginola threw his hat into the ring last week to become the next President of FIFA - but his chances of replacing current president Sepp Blatter looks like being de-railed before his train leaves the station -  he faces charges for breaching the governing body’s ethics codes for his links to gambling.

That would happen if he becomes an official candidate as of Thursday’s deadline. He would also be left without funding at that stage because his publicity-hungry bookmaker backers Paddy Power, who announced when they ‘launched’ Ginola that he needed £2.3m to run, now say they ‘will not be contributing financially beyond January 27’.

Any potential challenger to Blatter to become the most powerful person in the global game after May’s election has until Thursday officially to declare their candidacy, backed by support from five national associations.

FIFA's rules state that all presidential candidates are forbidden from being associated with gambling

But FIFA’s rules governing the presidential race explicitly state that all candidates are bound by the organisation’s code of ethics, which forbids ‘being associated with betting, gambling, lotteries and similar events’.

Given that Ginola’s campaign is being run by Paddy Power, who are paying him £250,000 over five months to run, he would be in clear breach of Article 25 of FIFA’s ethics code as a candidate.

To make matters worse, the Irish firm are collecting donations from football fans that the campaign website says are non-refundable, for a campaign built around Ginola and run via a new company called Rebooting Football Limited, a subsidiary vehicle of PP set up for the purpose.

FIFA’s ethics code also forbids active or passive stakes ‘in companies, concerns, organisations ... that promote [betting]’.

It remains unlikely Ginola will get the backing of five FAs and even be able to continue his stunt beyond Thursday. He also faces problems in showing he has held an ‘active’ role in football for two years in the past five years as laid out in condition 13A of the presidential race rules.

This specifies candidates should have worked as ‘a board member, committee member, referee, assistant referee, coach, trainer [or] any other person responsible for technical, medical or administrative matters in FIFA, a Confederation, Association, League or Club’.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Ginola has claimed that work for England’s ill-fated 2018 World Cup bid and consultancy work for obscure third-tier French club Etoile Frejus Saint-Raphael help him meet the criteria.

But his ‘active’ work for the FA covered a few weeks of trips and PR days. And the president of the French club, Alexandre Barbero, has admitted Ginola has held no formal role, has not been paid for work there and has acted as an advisor ‘mainly over the phone’.

LK

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