FRANKFURT: Herbert Hainer, chief executive of Adidas, has come out in support of Michel Platini as new president of FIFA writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The world football federation will be staging an extraordinary elective congress in December or January to pick a successor to Sepp Blatter who announced his departure only four days after being re-elected for a fifth term on May 29.
Frenchman Platini has been the president of European federation UEFA since 2007 and over the past year had consistently urged Blatter to step down while refusing to stand for leadership of the world game himself.
The FIFA executive committee meets on Monday to decide the date of the new election. Candidates must declare themselves four months ahead of congress and many European officials would want Platini to stand this time around.
So does Hainer who heads up one of the major FIFA World Cup sponsors.
In an interview with the German magazine Focus he said: “Platini is for me the most suitable candidate. He leads the UEFA with the world’s best club teams and the strongest club competition, the Champions League. In his two terms of office, he has done a really good job. ”
Wolfgang Niersbach, president of the German DFB and a member of the both the FIFA and UEFA executives, would be Hainer’s preference as new head of the European game.
Hainer said: “Wolfgang Niersbach is incredibly well connected and there is no issue with him about vanity, ego or powerplay. For me he would be the ideal UEFA president if Platini should be the successor of Blatter.”
Hainer shrugged off criticism that FIFA’s sponsors should scrap their World Cup sponsorship is protest at the endemic corruption culture around the pinnacle of the federation. The Adidas contract runs through to 2030.
The issue of corruption was separate, he indicated, from that of competition status and organisation.
Hainer added: “There is no greater or better event than a World Cup. ”
However restructuring was essential. Hainer said: ” FIFA must be set up so that corruption and bribery can never again be possible. FIFA is a big business enterprises, and in any large group, there is a management board but also a supervisory body.”