ASTANA, Kazakhstan: UEFA president Michel Platini said in an interview yesterday that he is the only person capable of stopping Sepp Blatter in an election for FIFA president.
But the French football legend is still not saying whether he will stand in the FIFA election to be held next year.
“Only one person can beat Blatter,” the UEFA leader told a small group of journalists, including AFP, on the sidelines of the UEFA congress in Astana.
When pressed, Platini answered that he was the person.
The 78-year-old Blatter, who has been FIFA president since 1998, has not officially said whether he will stand for a new term. But he is widely expected to announce his candidacy around the World Cup finals this year.
Platini, who has led UEFA since 2007, told the Congress he would have more meetings with European football leaders in coming months before announcing whether he would launch a FIFA campaign.
The 58-year-old UEFA president added in the interview, conducted in French and English, that it would be a “personal” decision but that he would consult widely.
“I will give my answer after the World Cup. There will be a series of meetings with European federation officials. Maybe 99% of them will say ‘we prefer that you stay at UEFA’, that could also be an element of reflection” in the decision, Platini said.
The UEFA chief insisted he has support outside of Europe. “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. I will consult many people but it will be my personal decision in the end.”
Platini said he was happy with what he has done so far at UEFA but indicated that Blatter’s attitude was clouding decisions.
“The problem is that Sepp Blatter said at first that he would retire. At that time, a lot of federations said they would think about me.
“But now, you know better than I, we don’t know whether he will stand again. It is not a question about a person: him or not him. But it could weigh on my decision,” Platini said.
Platini acknowledged that Blatter faces a lot of political pressure and that the FIFA post is a lot more political as different continents demand more World Cup places and influence within FIFA. But in his Congress speech, Platini lambasted the FIFA leadership for its lack of action over the companies and enterprises that have the rights to a growing number of top players. AFP