Platini to consult UEFA members
Published : 22 Mar 2011 16:30:06Rss feed
Michel Platini will speak to senior UEFA figures before declaring support for either Sepp Blatter or Mohamed Bin Hammam in the FIFA presidential election contest.
Platini, himself re-elected unopposed as UEFA president for four more years, is a former advisor to Blatter and worked for him when he was first elected FIFA president in 1998. UEFA's backing could prove decisive but the Frenchman said that his position at the head of European football meant he to had to consult others in UEFA before committing himself.
Blatter announced at the UEFA Congress that he will step down in 2015 if he is re-elected. The announcement appears to be a direct appeal to the 53 European countries to support him and then he will make way for Platini in four years' time. Platini told a news conference in Paris: "You ask me who I will support? In 1998 I was only Michel Platini, I was only thinking of myself."
He added: "I'm president of UEFA and this is something new. There are two candidates - I'm going to think about this, consult with my vice-presidents and the executive committee and see what position we will adopt. I can't think about myself any more."
Asked whether he would consider standing for the FIFA presidency in 2015, Platini did not rule it out. "Let's meet again in three years and then I will tell you," he said.
Bin Hammam revealed on Monday he would be interested in cutting a deal with Platini to oust Blatter - but Platini would have to weigh up whether this would affect his own chances in 2015.
Blatter, 75, told UEFA's Congress that if he wins it will definitely be his last term in office. Blatter said: "You know very well that I am a candidate for the next four years as FIFA president but these will be the last four years for which I stand as a candidate."
Blatter also promised that FIFA would now have "zero tolerance" for corruption - two FIFA executive committee members were banned last year after asking for money in return for votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
He said: "We can see cases of corruption that really hurt the whole football family and for this reason at the FIFA Congress we will show we will have zero tolerance.
"We will have zero tolerance on the pitch, more education, more respect towards the referees. There will be zero tolerance beyond the pitch - we have the instruments for that, the disciplinary committee, the ethics committee, and it's time to act. We will do whatever is necessary."