LONDON, June 8- Former England footballer Sol Campbell announced Monday that he will bid to become the Conservative candidate to replace Boris Johnson as mayor of London in 2016.
“I’m in it to win it,” the former Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur defender told the Sun newspaper.
The London-born 40-year-old confirmed he will attend a question and answer debate on July 4 with other contenders for the Conservative nomination.
“I know I’m not going to be a frontrunner,” he told the tabloid.
“But I look at people who have been in politics for five, ten, 15 years, see them muck up and think, ‘You guys are supposed to be pro’!
“I bring something new to the table. I come from a working class background, it wasn’t easy for me at all, but I worked hard. And now it’s about giving something back.”
Campbell campaigned alongside Tory candidates in the run-up to this year’s general election, in which Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron won re-election.
He had been touted as a possible candidate for the London parliamentary seat of Kensington and Chelsea, but said that his “ambitions lie elsewhere in the political arena”.
Tessa Jowell and Sadiq Khan, both from the main opposition Labour party, are the current favourites for mayor.
The Tories have yet to find an instantly recognisable candidate, although MP Zac Goldsmith has been tipped as one of the favourites if he decides to run.
Campbell refused to speculate on whether Tottenham fans might boycott his candidacy after he left the White Hart Lane club for North London rivals Arsenal in 2001.
“If we keep thinking about football we’re not going to do anything. We are dealing with people’s lives here,” he told The Sun.
Johnson was elected to parliament in last month’s vote and after stepping down as mayor next year is expected to be made a minister in Cameron’s cabinet.