Will Platini announce intention?

London - Uefa president Michel Platini is under pressure to declare whether he is a candidate for the Fifa presidency, amid growing concern about Sepp Blatter's willingness to relinquish control.

Twenty-four days after an apparent resignation speech, in which he declared his intention to oversee the election of a successor, Blatter muddied the waters on Friday by telling Blick, the Swiss newspaper: "I have not resigned, (but rather) put my mandate in the hands of an extraordinary congress."

Platini, the Uefa president and former France captain, did not challenge for the Fifa presidency at last month's election - at which Blatter defeated Prince Ali Al-Hussein of Jordan - and has yet to declare whether he intends to do so this time.

During this week's Uefa executive committee meeting in Prague, members are expected to urge Platini either to stand or to identify a suitable challenger, such as Michael van Praag, the president of the Dutch FA, or Prince Ali.

Yesterday, Blatter caused more confusion when he told another Swiss newspaper, Waliser Bote, that while he will not stand again for the Fifa presidency, he remains in charge of football's world governing body.

When asked what he intended to do when he stands down as president, the Swiss replied: "I haven't thought much about it for the time being.

"My decision to leave was really a liberation, both for Fifa and for myself."

The possibility remains that the 79-year-old could attempt to cling on to power, even as his Fifa regime remains in the grip of a series of corruption scandals.

Any such move would be strongly challenged by Uefa, European football's governing body, which has long regarded Platini as Blatter's heir apparent.

The Times, London