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SBD Global/June 13, 2014/World Cup

Michel Platini Says He Won't Back Sepp Blatter For 2015 FIFA Presidency

Michel Platini, right, said he won't back Sepp Blatter for FIFA presidency.
UEFA President Michel Platini "has made it clear he will not support" FIFA President Sepp Blatter if he "stands for re-election," according to the AP. Blatter "is expected to formally declare his candidacy for a fifth term," but Platini -- who is considering a run at FIFA's top job -- said that "the time has come for a change." Platini: “I don’t support him. I’ve known him a long time and I like him, but I’m not in favor of him serving another term. I supported him in 1998 but I don’t support him in 2014, I think that FIFA needs a breath of fresh air.” Platini "plans to announce his decision whether to stand for FIFA presidency in next year's election on Aug. 28." Platini said UEFA members “want me to announce it as soon as possible.” Platini: “It’s not as if choosing between UEFA and FIFA is like choosing between hospital and prison. There’s nothing negative about this choice. When I undertake something, it’s to win” (AP, 6/12). In London, Roger Blitz reported Platini said that when Blatter ran for a fourth term in '11, he asked for UEFA's support, saying that "it would be his last term." Platini also criticized FIFA "for opposing term and age limits for officials." His comments "suggest the already fractured relationship" between Blatter and Platini is "irreparably broken." Senior UEFA officials "stunned Mr Blatter when he attended its meeting in São Paulo on Monday by calling on him not to stand for re-election." UEFA insiders said that the mood among its members "had hardened since they arrived in Brazil for the World Cup" and that a UEFA-backed challenge "was looking more likely." The European federation "has been emboldened by World Cup sponsors voicing concerns" about the Qatar tournament and wanting FIFA "to respond to them appropriately"(FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/12). The BBC reported Platini "still would not commit himself" to a run for the FIFA presidency. At present, "there is just one candidate" -- former FIFA Deputy Secretary-General Jerome Champagne. Platini: "It is an option to run. But it is not because Sepp Blatter is running that Michel Platini will not run and it is not because Blatter is not running that Platini will run. My only concern is knowing what I want to do. I am 60 soon and I need to know what I want. I will take my time" (BBC, 6/12). ITV reported Pele believes Blatter "is the right man" to lead FIFA. Pele said that Platini "is a strong candidate," but feels that Blatter "has done a good job" (ITV, 6/12).

HOLDING ALL THE CARDS: In London, Gabriele Marcotti wrote Blatter "was predictably mocked on social media when he raised the possibility of interplanetary football" at the FIFA Congress. But his comments "betrayed something else about his state of mind." He is "unworried not because he is removed from reality, but because he understands realpolitik all too well." The bottom line "is that Blatter holds all the cards." Three years ago he said that "he would not stand for re-election in 2015." His potential challengers "took it as a kind of peace offering." Maybe "they should have got that pledge in writing, because the Swiss is still around and will probably be around through to 2019 and perhaps beyond." He is "brilliant in a political, House of Cards kind of way." The Qatar 2022 revelations "benefited him first and foremost, but that doesn’t stop him from blasting them as 'an attempt to destroy us' to seek favour with the African delegates." He "is a Teflon figure," who redefines “bouncebackability” and "forms and breaks alliances, depending on the shifting winds" (LONDON TIMES, 6/12).

FFA WEIGHS IN: The AAP reported Australia said that its support for Blatter "depends on his will to mend the battered reputation of the game’s governing body." Football Federation Australia Chair Frank Lowy said that "a pending report into FIFA corruption claims would determine the nation’s stance." Lowy: “The governance has to improve a lot. There are lots of issues to deal with, whether FIFA and its president are capable of dealing with that.” Admitting concern at FIFA’s "tarnished standing in the world, Lowy said issues went deeper than just Blatter." Lowy: “It’s not for me to say ‘it’s time.’ It’s for 209 (FIFA member) nations to say it’s time. Australia has got one vote out of 209 other nations. And it’s no good exaggerating what Australia’s power in FIFA is" (AAP, 6/12).
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