NYON: UEFA president Michel Platini has welcomed the emergence of three challengers to Sepp Blatter for the presidency of world football federation FIFA writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

But the French head of the European governing body did not offer any opinion on whether either Prince Ali of Jordan, Dutch federation leader Michael Van Praag or Portugal’s Luis Figo might succeed.

In a video interview published by UEFA on YouTube Platini proclaimed the importance of a “debate” about the way in which the worldwide game is governed.

He said: “I think it was a very nice opportunity to open a debate for democratic reasons in the world of football and FIFA needs new ideas, new programmes.

“There are four candidates. Let’s see the programmes of the four candidates. But it’s important for football that there is a change in FIFA.”

Platini reiterated that he had not ruled out seeking the FIFA presidency at some time in the future.

Asked about his decision to stay on for the next four years as president of UEFA, he said: “It was not so easy a choice but I decided to stay where I feel well. I didn’t decide not to go to FIFA but to stay in UEFA. That’s a totally different matter.

“Perhaps it is not my time to go to FIFA. We will see one day if I go or don’t go.”

In terms of decision-making Platini insisted he listened to everyone around him – UEFA’s executive committee, its congress – before coming to any particular conclusions.

He was not, he insisted, a “despot.”

Platini also reiterated his opposition to third-party ownership of players which is prevalent in South America and is being banned worldwide by FIFA from May, despite opposition from Spain and Portugal.

He said:

Platini said: “I think we are dealing with a type of slavery that belongs in the past. I have put a lot of pressure on Fifa to stop third-party ownership of players.

“Today it is shameful to see some players with one of their arms belonging to one person, a leg belonging to a pension fund located who knows where and a third person owning his foot.

“So it’s about time the world of football wakes up and that the money coming into football remains in football and doesn’t disappear right or left or I don’t know where.”

Third-party ownership was banned by the Premier League in England at the start of the 2008-09 season, following the discovery that the economic rights of Argentine players Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano were owned by two offshore companies when they joined West Ham in 2006.

Premier League and Football League rules now require clubs to buy out any third parties that claim to own the economic rights in a player before their transfers are permitted in the top flight.

Full interview herehttps://youtu.be/eOUKHwa6bWg