PARIS (AFP) - European football chief Michel Platini on Thursday will announce if he is to stand against Sepp Blatter in next year’s Fifa presidential election.
Platini, 59, will make clear his intention in Monaco at the draw for the Champions League group stages, ending months of feverish speculation.
The French football legend raised hopes among his supporters that he was planning to put his name in the ring for one of the most powerful jobs in world sport after publically declaring in June that he no longer supported Blatter.
The divisive 76-year-old Fifa boss has come under intense pressure over issues such as widespread Fifa corruption and the controversy-plagued 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Despite all that baggage, the Swiss lawyer declared to the Fifa Congress in Sao Paulo hours before the World Cup got underway on June 12 that he was ready for a new mandate despite having said in 2011 he would not seek re-election for a fifth term.
At the same Congress Platini paved the way for standing against Blatter when he told FIFA delegates: “I am supporting him no longer, it’s finished.
“He knows it, I told him. I think Fifa needs a new breath of fresh air.” Platini said he agreed with his fellow Uefa members that it was time for Blatter, who has been in power since 1998, to call it a day when his mandate ends next year.
“I share the European position.
“A new mandate for him would not be good for football. But he is a person one has to respect and he has all my respect.” Platini, who won praise for his organisation of the World Cup hosted by France in 1998, was himself forced to deny he had been pressured by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to vote for Qatar in the scandal-tainted race for the 2022 World Cup.
The three-time former World Footballer of the Year and France captain became head of Uefa in 2007, winning a second mandate in 2011
Back in March, speaking at the Uefa Congress in Kazakhstan, he conceded that he was “the only person (who) can beat Blatter”.
The election for the new head of world football is staged next year in Zurich on May 29.