(WFI) Michel Platini’s interest in securing the FIFA presidency appears to be diminishing, after he delayed a decision on whether to run until the end of the year. That would give the UEFA president just five months to campaign for the top job in world football.
The Frenchman informed the UEFA Congress today that he will hold talks with the 54 member federations about the 2015 elections at meetings between September and December.
Platini said in his keynote speech to delegates that he would sound out federation chiefs before a decision was made. The UEFA presidential election is in March and the FIFA presidential election in May. FIFA president Sepp Blatter is set to run for a fifth term in office, with his decision due at the FIFA Congress in Sau Paulo in June.
The UEFA chief’s ploy to delay his FIFA intentions from before or during this summer’s World Cup seems only to be delaying the inevitable – to opt out of challenging Blatter . The 78-year-old’s global power base of support, built up since 1998 when he became FIFA president, would be hard to breach, despite Platini’s comments today.
However, Platini warned in a briefing with reporters: “There is only one person who can beat Blatter. Me.”
In comments carried by Reuters, he insisted he did have enough support outside Europe to win the FIFA presidency.”Yes I have many people who support me around the world. But I have not decided yet to run, I am happy being UEFA president, and I still have to decide about FIFA.”
Platini’s UEFA Projects
Today, Platini launched the Nations League, the latest addition to a range of UEFA initiatives he’s overseeing. His focus is also on the implementation of financial fair play rules including sanctions for non-compliant clubs, regulating third-party ownership, the Week of Football for Euro 2016 qualifiers, as well as steering preparations for those Euros in France and masterminding the staging of Euro 2020 in 13 cities.
INSIDER is told that Platini may be much more interested in seeing these projects through that choosing for a life of football politics that goes with the FIFA presidency.
Blatter, who said in 2011 that this term would be his last, has dropped heavy hints over the past 18 months that he will stand for re-election as head of world football’s governing body.
Despite their frequent references to being good friends, Blatter and Platini have clashed on several occasions in the past year – on goal-line technology (Platini is not a fan); the possibility of switching the Qatar World Cup from summer to winter (disrupting the UEFA Champions League schedule); and so-called “triple punishment” (Platini last month called it a “stupid rule” and is disappointed the International Football Association Board has not scrapped it).
On third-party ownership of players which UEFA is trying to ban to protect the integrity of the transfer market, Platini took aim at Blatter at the UEFA Congress. FIFA has so far made no commitment to cracking down on the issue.
“Please have the political courage to deal with this problem once and for all,” Platini was quoted by AP as telling Blatter at the Astana meeting.
“The amount of money that vanishes into thin air in a single transfer exceeds the entire annual budget for your global solidarity program,” Platini said, a nod to FIFA’s annual $30 million investment in GOAL development projects around its 209 member nations. “Do you consider that normal? I, for one, do not.”
In other news from the UEFA Congress, the confederation’s 54 members unanimously adopted an 11-point resolution entitled ‘European football united for the integrity of the game’.
It is aimed at dealing with match-fixing and corruption and addresses five specific topics: education, regulation, reporting, law enforcement and strong sanctions. In adopting the resolution, the UEFA member associations agreed to:
• educate their domestic football family by having a coherent plan for education and protection/prevention
• harmonise their regulations (minimum standards/abolish statute of limitations)
• implement reporting systems/procedures
• cooperate with domestic law enforcement agencies
• implement strong sanctions for any persons involved in match-fixing
“We are requesting that UEFA’s member associations align themselves with UEFA – and have our full support – in order to tackle this scourge, which is a real threat to the soul of our sport,” said Platini.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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