Platini confirms Fifa run, pledges to serve fans

BERN • Uefa president Michel Platini has vowed to give football fans "the Fifa that they want", after announcing yesterday that he will run to replace Sepp Blatter as the head of the sport's world governing body.

The former French international, a Uefa president since 2007 and a Fifa executive committee member since 2002, added that he wanted to give the scandal-hit organisation "back the dignity and the position it deserves".

Platini, who played in three World Cups for France, had written to the 209 member associations of Fifa, who each hold one vote in the presidential election, to inform them of his decision.

"This was a very personal, carefully considered decision, one in which I weighed up the future of football alongside my own future," he said in the letter, according to a statement published on the Uefa website. "There are times in life when you have to take your destiny into your own hands."

Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as president on May 29 but said four days later that he would lay down his mandate as Fifa was engulfed by a bribery scandal.

LET'S WORK AS ONE

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.

MICHEL PLATINI on running for the global football body's presidency

The 79-year-old Swiss will remain as president until the election on Feb 26 next year.

Platini is now the favourite to succeed him. He can expect widespread backing, but will also face some uncomfortable questions, not least for his controversial decision to support Qatar's winning bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

If the 60-year-old does win, it will be up to him to oversee the widespread reforms that he himself has called so loudly for since becoming one of Blatter's biggest critics.

"I am counting on your support... 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," he said.

But he does not have the backing of Prince Ali Hussein.

The Jordanian prince, who was beaten to the presidency by Blatter in May but has yet to announce his candidacy for next February's election, said yesterday that he thinks Platini is "not good for football and football's fans and players deserve better".

It now appears the 39-year-old may be plotting a fresh campaign to run against Platini and make another bid for the high-powered post.

"What is clear is that Fifa needs new, independent leadership, untainted by the practices of the past," he added.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2015, with the headline 'Platini confirms Fifa run, pledges to serve fans'. Print Edition | Subscribe