Platini eyes Fifa presidency Michel Platini

PARIS. – UEFA president Michel Platini ended weeks of uncertainty yesterday when he announced that he would stand for the presidency of FIFA in place of outgoing Sepp Blatter. The former French international, who has been UEFA president since 2007 and a FIFA executive committee member since 2002, said he wanted to “to give FIFA back the dignity and the position it deserves.”

Platini said he had written to the 209 member associations of FIFA, who each hold one vote in the presidential election, to inform them of his decision.

Platini says Fifa needs to “turn over a new leaf” after confirming he will be a candidate to be the next president of world football’s governing body.

The 60-year-old UEFA president has received indications of support from four continental confederations.

Polling for the election takes place on February 26, with Sepp Blatter standing down following a corruption crisis.

Potential candidate Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein has said in a statement: “Platini is not good for FIFA.”

Former France international Platini said when announcing his candidacy: “I weighed up the future of football alongside my own future.”

Swiss Blatter (79) has been in charge of FIFA since 1998.

The election will be held in Zurich at an emergency congress attended by the FIFA member associations.

Candidates have until October 26 to be nominated.

Under Platini’s presidency, UEFA has seen a number of major developments.

Next year’s European Championship will feature more teams than ever, up from 16 to 24. Then in 2020, the tournament will be staged in 13 cities across as many countries.

In club football, the Champions League has grown in popularity, with British broadcaster BT Sport agreeing to pay £900 million for exclusive live rights to European football’s top club competition from 2015-16.

However, Platini has faced criticism, largely over his support for Qatar’s staging of the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

In a letter sent to the presidents and general secretaries of the 209 member associations of world football’s governing body, Platini pledged he would work tirelessly “in the interests of football”.

“There are times in life when you have to take your destiny into your own hands,” he said. “I am at one of those decisive moments, at a juncture in my life and in events that are shaping the future of FIFA.

“During this last half-century or so, FIFA has only had two presidents. This extreme stability is something of a paradox in a world that has experienced radical upheavals and in a sport that has undergone considerable economic change.

“However, recent events force the supreme governing body of world football to turn over a new leaf and rethink its governance.

He said he was standing as a candidate “with enthusiasm and conviction, but also with the humility of someone who knows that he cannot succeed on his own”.

“I am counting on your support and our common love of football so that, together, we can give the tens of millions of football fans the FIFA that they want: a FIFA that is exemplary, united and shows solidarity, a FIFA that is respected, liked and of the people.

“As the president of UEFA, I have brought Europe together on a unifying path. I gave all the national associations – big and small – the place they deserved. Now, I aspire to do the same at world level, to offer all national associations a common cause.”

As a player, Platini won three Ballon d’Or titles in the mid 1980s as well as a European Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup and Super Cup with Juventus.

The former Nancy and Saint-Etienne midfielder, who became famous for his ability to score from free-kicks, also won league titles in France and Italy.

He also helped France to European Championship success in 1984 and third place at the 1986 World Cup. – BBC Sport.


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