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FIFA candidate's views on 4 big issues in football

Wednesday - 6/4/2014, 9:00am  ET

The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) -- FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne sat down for a two-hour interview with The Associated Press. Here is a glance at what he said on four big issues:

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ON FIFA VOTE FOR QATAR WORLD CUP: Says he "fully trusts" FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia's investigation of 2010 votes for Qatar and 2018 World Cup host Russia. Says any corruption must be exposed. "If nothing has happened, we need to know. If something has happened, we need to know as well." Backs possibility of re-vote if supported by evidence of wrongdoing. "All the options have to be on the table."

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ON QATAR'S TREATMENT OF WORKERS: Qatar's toughest critics liken it to a slave state and warn thousands of laborers could die in World Cup-related construction. Champagne says tournament should not be held there if Qatar doesn't provide "strong guarantees" on this issue. Notes, however, that plight of migrant workforce got less attention before Qatar won hosting rights in 2010, with foreign embassies and companies operating there "without ever mentioning this situation." ''FIFA is asked to solve a problem that all the governments and all the private companies have never tried solving." ''That's unfair."

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ON VIDEO REFEREEING: Smartphones give spectators in stadiums access to instant replays, meaning they can now see on-field action referees might miss, he says. Cites recent example in France's second division where players used spectators' smartphones to demonstrate to referee that he'd not spotted a handball and incorrectly awarded a goal. "It's embarrassing for football. It's embarrassing for the referees." Cautions that if similar happens at World Cup, there'll be "1 billion viewers and 1 blind (person) in the middle." ''We need to do everything possible to help the referees." ''These guys have to be protected." Wants introduction of video refereeing to check if fouls are inside penalty area, when there are doubts if player was offside for a goal and to avoid errors in sending off players.

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BRAZIL WORLD CUP: Says FIFA needs "a very deep, thorough brainstorming" and to analyze mistakes after the troubled Brazil World Cup. Suggests FIFA needs to scale back expectations and be more in harmony with local conditions at future World Cups. If FIFA wants democratic countries to continue to bid for hosting rights "we need to change the style, we need to be less seen as imperialist, too demanding, we have to change." ''If we continue that trend, we will end up organizing events -- whether mega-events or not -- only in dictatorships" that don't poll their citizens about whether they want to shoulder the expense.


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