ZURICH: The unofficial 2015 FIFA presidency election campaign has gathered pace after Sepp Blatter talked up the prospects of Angel Maria Villar writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Blatter was talking, it must be noted, in an interview with the Spanish daily sports newspaper As – and the Spanish media never mises an opportunity to raise the possibility of RFEF president Villar succeeding the 77-year-old Swiss at the head of the world football.
The next presidential election is in 2015 and Michel Platini, French head of European federation UEFA, is considered the favourite though it is far from certain he would want to run.
Blatter, after suggesting two years ago that this would be his last term, has retreated from that position and has also distanced himself from Platini with his criticisms of UEFA’s plans for a pan-European Euro 2020.
Asked who might follow him in charge at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Blatter said: “I would support anyone who is prepared to follow the strategy I launched for the universality of football and maintained by respecting the FIFA pyramid – and not following the path of Michel Platini’s predecessor at UEFA, Lennart Johansson, of a ‘horizontal’ organisation.
“Michel Platini could be a possible successor because we started work together at FIFA in 1998 [Note: Blatter was elected president and appointed Platini as his ‘football counsellor’].
“On another side there is Angel Villar who has wide experience and good contacts in the Americas and Africa and who would also be a good candidate.
“I don’t know if there is any agreement between Villar and Platini over their roles within UEFA and FIFA but in any case the FIFA elections for the presidency in 2015 will be open and democratic.”
The difficulty for Platini is that he comes up with re-election as UEFA president early in the spring of 2015, a few months before the FIFA election.
If he decides to run for FIFA could be stand also as UEFA president in the knowledge that he might quit months later?
Or, would he dare stand down from UEFA and risk a FIFA defeat which would leave him out of work in both?
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