M&C Saatchi PR rejects claims of Paddy Power 'PR stunt' in David Ginola FIFA election

M&C Saatchi PR has rejected claims that David Ginola's bid for FIFA president is a 'PR stunt' by betting company Paddy Power, which is backing the ex-footballer's election campaign.

David Ginola: M&C Saatchi PR defends the legitimacy of ex-footballer's bid for FIFA presidency
David Ginola: M&C Saatchi PR defends the legitimacy of ex-footballer's bid for FIFA presidency

The agency was brought in to run the PR for a global news conference on Friday to announce Ginola's intention to run for presidency.

Ginola is being backed by Paddy Power, which is looking to raise £2.3m through crowd funding for a marketing and comms campaign to aid Ginola's bid.

The news fuelled speculation among the footballing community that the move is a PR stunt, with Gary Lineker tweeting:

Further doubts were raised when the media claimed that M&C Saatchi PR had struck a deal with The Sun prior to the news conference to keep the event on lockdown. The Guardian reported that the agency failed to respond to journalists' enquiries.

Speaking to PRWeek, M&C Saatchi PR global CEO Molly Aldridge said: "We expected a high level of cynicism surrounding the campaign – it is revolutionary. The Sun and News Corporation are huge supporters to this campaign and it was a strategic decision to get their support. We gave The Sun a heads-up on Thursday and sent the press release out to the rest of the media on Friday morning."

The agency will continue to offer counsel and key media support to Ginola's campaign manager Ian McGarry over the next ten days, which are "critical".

Ginola needs to get the support of five national football associations to get into the ballot box. If he succeeds M&C Saatchi PR will continue its work on the campaign.

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