KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Europe’s football associations will meet in emergency session in Berlin on Saturday week to consider a reaction if Sepp Blatter is re-elected as president of world federation FIFA president.
Michel Platini, president of UEFA, set out the European federation’s position in Zurich today after a continental conference.
He was also still hoping to persuade some pro-Blatter European associations to vote instead for challenger Prince Ali bin Al Hussein from Jordan.
The Frenchman admitted he was sad to see the present crisis-torn state of FIFA, exacerbated by Wednesday’s legal assault by the Swiss and United States justice departments.
Platini said: “As a lover of FIFA, as a great admirer of the history of FIFA, I really don’t know where to put myself. I’ve had enough. Enough is enough. Too much is too much. Our [FIFA] image is not good at all and I am the first one disgusted by this.”
Later, to emphasise his distress, Platini added: “I am saying this with sadness, with tears in my eyes. I don’t like it. Too many scandals have shaken the world of football and FIFA doesn’t deserve to be treated that way. It’s the mother of football and you can’t talk about someone’s mother that way.”
But, if Blatter is re-elected, then Platini and UEFA will be talking seriously about its relationship with FIFA.
Platini explained: “We cannot continue like this with FIFA. FIFA is the house of football, the house where all the rules are made, where the International Board is based. But how can fans and players from the entire planet respect FIFA statutes if the people who draw them up are not respectable?.”
Hence the need for serious reflection among all the 54 European federation presidents on the eve of the Champions League Final in Berlin.
Platini, outlined his strategy, said: “If Mr Blatter wins then UEFA will meet in Berlin to possibly discuss the future of our relations with FIFA.
“David Gill has said he doesn’t want to participate in a new term of office for Blatter and perhaps others will share that view.
“Perhaps other will not want to take part in the FIFA executive committee. Perhaps there can be other decisions. But many people don’t want to stay with this FIFA an,d, if Sepp is still the president, then UEFA has to take its responsibilities.
“In any assembly there are the good, the bad and the ugly.
Platini refuted suggestions that UEFA could threaten to withdraw from FIFA but indicated that nothing could be ruled in or out until an emergency meeting – if it should be necessary.
Yet even Platini conceded that a victory for Prince Ali against Blatter was unlikely.
He said: “A very, very big majority of European nations will vote for Prince Ali and I am still trying to convince a couple of our federations who are not completely convinced.”
Platini thought that a minimum 45 or 46 of UEFA’s 53 voting FAs would support Prince Ali and he urged other worldwide federations to do so, too. He added: “It’s important other confederations join us. That is the only way FIFA can change in future.”