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The Frenchman, FIFA’s former director of international relations, announced in January that he intended to run for the presidency – the most powerful job in football – but then confused many observers with his comments regarding Blatter.
At his launch news conference, Champagne had declared he did not believe he could beat Blatter and that he was undecided about whether he would even run if his former boss was a candidate.
Blatter, 78, announced last week that he would seek a fifth term and, with UEFA president Michel Platini having decided against challenging him, the prospect of the Swiss being unopposed looked likely.
Champagne did not mention Blatter by name in his statement but the 56-year-old said it was important to have a debate over the future of the game.
“I am happy that the debate about the future of FIFA and football has finally begun with the prospect of various candidates,” he said, adding that he would like all candidates to take part in public and televised debates across the world.
“First and foremost, debating about issues is a normal process in an institution based on democratic principles.
“Then, this debate is particularly indispensable for football,” he added.
“We have to take clear and informed decisions on whether we want to continue with the current economic polarization, and the sporting imbalances it brings in its wake, or be willing to rebalance the game in our globalised 21st century.”
FIFA’s Deputy Secretary General between 2002 and 2005, Champagne worked on special projects between 2005 and 2007 and was Director of International Relations from 2007 until he left FIFA in 2010 after political infighting cost him his position.
A former diplomat, since 2010 Champagne has worked as an independent international football consultant focusing on resolving issues in Kosovo, Palestine and Israel and Cyprus.
In 2012 he issued a 26-page 20,000 word document entitled “What FIFA for the 21st Century?” outlying his ideas for reform.
He is married with three children, lives in Zurich and supports French club St Etienne.
(Reporting By Simon Evans, editing by Alan Baldwin)
For over a century, Hart Island has been the final resting place of those who died alone and unknown and whose burial had to be organised by the city authorities using prison labour.
But it’s emerged more recently that some children who die at birth are also being buried there without their mothers’ knowledge.
In a report on tonight’s Dateline on SBS ONE, two of those mothers tell their heartbreaking stories to video journalist Aaron Thomas.
“The nurse came around to get a heartbeat and there was no heartbeat,” Laurie Grant recalls of the stillbirth of her baby 21 years ago.
“At one point a nurse came in and said, what do you want to do about the burial… the city can bury the baby and you would be able to go visit,” Laurie says.
“You have to understand you are on meds and you’re in grief and you’re not exactly 100% yourself… I have no recall of signing any papers.”
What followed was two decades of Laurie not knowing where her own baby was buried, until she happened to hear a radio report about Hart Island and starting making enquiries.
The island has been home to a hospital, prison and even a missile base, but is currently uninhabited except for the million people buried there since 1875.
“It was kind of a modern approach to organising all of the death that occurred in a big city,” says Melinda Hunt, an artist who started photographing the island and went on to become one of the main campaigners against its secrecy.
“Everybody’s identity is erased essentially and they are in this mass grave that is sort of like the New York City family tomb,” Melinda says.
At present the island is controlled by the New York Department of Correction, which severely restricts access, leading distraught parents to call it the ‘Prison of the Dead’.
But Melinda managed to get enough information to build an online database of burials and ultimately Laurie was able to find the details of where her baby had been laid to rest.
“For me, just the idea of knowing where the baby was was very important,” Laurie tells Aaron.
But so far her efforts to reach the island have been in vain, with a level of bureaucracy Melinda describes as like dealing with the ‘Soviet Politburo’.
“It shows a lack of respect for dignity, human dignity, and I feel that lack of respect,” Laurie says.
However, another mother, MJ Adams, has finally been permitted to visit the island, where her son Juan Carlos was buried after being stillborn 19 years ago.
“Now I have a solid image in my mind of where my baby is buried,” she tells Aaron after her emotional visit. “It’s a really lovely view of looking out across the Long Island Sound… so it gives me a peaceful image.”
Melinda and the mothers are now campaigning to open the island to the public, in the hope that New York’s forgotten may at last have the chance to be properly remembered.
See the full story on tonight’s Dateline at 9.30pm on SBS ONE.
Bali police say they know of no plan to attack the holiday island but they are increasing vigilance as Islamic State (IS) ideology creeps into Indonesia.
There are concerns Australia’s deployment to the United Arab Emirates, in readiness to fight IS in Iraq, could make Australians a target when holidaying abroad.
Bali police spokesman Hery Wiyanto says there is no information that terrorists are planning another bombing like those that killed 88 Australians in 2002 and four in 2005.
“So far, there’s no plan we’ve heard of, whether through intelligence or from (Indonesia’s counter-terror squad) Detachment 88,” he said.
“Nevertheless, we’re being cautious.”
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has reportedly ordered authorities to keep a closer eye on foreign nationals in Indonesia after Detachment 88 on Saturday arrested four foreigners suspected of having IS links in a known terror hotspot in central Sulawesi.
The four were first thought to be Turkish but are reportedly Uighurs from China’s restive Xinjiang region who were using forged passports.
Mr Hery says so many foreigners enter Bali daily, “it’s impossible to observe them one by one”.
“It’s difficult, but we have co-ordinated with immigration to check documents more thoroughly, and in hotels we are also doing the same.”
Meanwhile, police in Central Java have tightened security measures at the world famous Borobudur Temple after a threat, apparently inspired by IS, was found on Facebook last month.
The Buddhist monument, a UNESCO world heritage site, was targeted by radicals in 1985.
As the search for missing three-year-old NSW boy William Tyrell nears the end of the third day authorities and volunteers are beginning to worry about his fate.
“As time goes on, obviously the survival diminishes,” Superintendent Paul Fehon told Network Ten.
“After three days looking for a young person, I think it’s fair to say we would have liked to have located something at this stage.”
William went missing from the front yard of the home of a relative, believed to be his grandmother, at Kendall, on the mid-north coast, on Friday morning.
The area where police, SES, members of the Rural Fire Service, local surf lifesaving club and several hundred community volunteers are looking for William was expanded on Sunday.
Authorities have been combing bushland for the past few days and on Saturday evening police divers began searching surrounding dams for the boy, who was last seen wearing a Spider-Man costume.
The search will continue throughout Sunday night, following what local police inspector Kim Fehon described as a “critical day,” given William had likely gone without food and water for several days.
“I have briefed all the search teams that they are looking for a small boy who is likely to be curled up and may be covered and have found somewhere to hide,” she told Fairfax.
“At this time we are hoping he is still in a position to respond to being called out to.”
Jenny Atkins, a senior instructor at the Camden Haven Pony Club who’s joined the search, said the volunteer’s mood was “pretty down” and “worried”.
“We’ve had riders going out helping on horse back looking through the thick scrub,” she told AAP.
“It’s rough country, they come back with leeches,” she said.
Since the search began the close-knit community has rallied around William’s grandmother, Ms Atkins said.
“Everyone’s feeling for her,” she said.
“Our community does support each other, we’re very rural.”
William has been described as being of Caucasian appearance, with dark hair and hazel eyes.
A police spokeswoman said there weren’t any plans to wind the search back.
“I haven’t swung a golf club yet,” said Woods.
“I’ve just been shadow swinging without a club, but I’ve been busting my butt in the gym pretty hard.
“I’ve got my strength back, which is nice. Now the next goal is to get my explosiveness and my fast twitch going, and that’s the next phase of my training.”
Woods, a 14-times major winner, has struggled to find form since recovering from back surgery in late March and his disappointing performance at the PGA Championship led to only the fourth missed cut of his professional career in a major.
Two weeks after the PGA Championship, Woods ended a four-year alliance with swing coach Sean Foley, whose redesign of the American’s swing failed to produce a major title.
Woods, who worked with Hank Haney and Butch Harmon before joining forces with Foley in August 2010, has no plans to name a new coach.
“Am I looking for a new coach? As of right now, no, I’m not,” the 38-year-old said. “Right now I’m just trying to get physically better, stronger, faster, more explosive.”
“I’m in no hurry to look for one right now. As I said, I’m just focused on what I’m doing.”
Despite sounding upbeat about his recovery from injury, Woods, whose Hero World Challenge benefits his foundation and brings together 18 of the world’s top golfers, did not get into specifics about his playing schedule for next season.
“That’s all dependent on how I feel and how I’m playing when I play in the Hero World Challenge here,” said Woods.
“I’m curious … how I’m going to be feeling, how I’m going to be playing, and if I don’t have any setbacks or any pain, then I foresee a very full schedule next year.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Clare Lovell)