As PR stunts go, this one takes some beating: former Newcastle, Tottenham, Everton, and Aston Villa winger David Ginola is to stand against Sepp Blatter for the Fifa presidency.
That’s if this is even a stunt at all, of course. The fact this is being backed by notorious mischief-makers Paddy Power suggests it is, however with the PR support of M&C Saatchi PR – acting on the bookmakers’ behalf – there’s a very real chance the campaign could gain some traction.
Today’s newspapers are all reporting the news – Ginola features in the Guardian, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, as well as on the BBC website – along with the caveat that he needs “the support of five football associations and must show active involvement in football for two of the past five years” in order to be eligible. A news conference will be held at some point today.
An interesting note from the coverage is that some sources are only referring to the campaign being backed by “a bookmaker”, suggesting there’s some belief that this is a stunt by not giving publicity to the company backing the announcement. We’d imagine Paddy Power’s branding will feature prominently at the conference.
A spokeswoman for Ginola simply said:
“We will be looking for the full support of Uefa and five football associations.”
He’s not the only one to have announced his intention to take over from current president Sepp Blatter, who has been in post since 1998: both Fifa vice-president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and former diplomat Jerome Champagne are the other candidates.