FIFA hopeful Jerome Champagne criticises 40-team World Cup plan

Champagne out of FIFA Presidency race (0:56)

Jerome Champagne is out of the race to become FIFA President after failing to get enough support to be on the ballot paper. (0:56)

FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne has taken a dim view of plans to expand the World Cup to 40 teams.

The governing body's executive committee discussed last month whether they should follow Europe's lead by adding eight more places to the World Cup, but a final decision on the proposal was deferred.

Another presidential hopeful, UEFA's general secretary Gianni Infantino, announced his support for the idea in November. Infantino, 45, is currently standing in for suspended UEFA president Michel Platini and previously worked closely alongside the Frenchman to ensure that the European Championship grew from 16 to 24 teams in time for this summer's tournament.

Champagne, 57, is hoping to replace Sepp Blatter as the head of FIFA following February's election and he is competing against Infantino, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, Tokyo Sexwale and Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.

And the former French diplomat, who spent over a decade working within FIFA before being fired in January 2010, is not impressed by Infantino's pledge to alter the format of the World Cup.

"Some of my rivals are putting forward popularity-seeking proposals like a World Cup with 40 teams, promising all the money in the world," he told Le Parisien. "In this campaign we're seeing governmental and football interests trying to take control of FIFA. We need a man who understands football and the world. We don't need a regional candidate or one who's linked to interest groups.

"My independence is a guarantee for FIFA and for football. My rivals are about smoke and mirrors."