KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Michel Platini sends his apologies but other duties mean he will be unable to attend a forum for FIFA presidential contenders scheduled for October 28 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg in his home country of France.

All announced contenders had been invited “to present their platform to FIFA reform campaign groups and members of parliaments” by Damian Collins, the UK Conservative Member of Parliament. The forum is to be hosted by Emma McClarkin EMP.

Michel Platini: French president of UEFA

Platini, the French president of European federation UEFA, remains favourite for the world federation leadership being vacated by Sepp Blatter next February 26.

However his credibility has been questioned from various quarters after revelations of a nine-year delay in his receiving a payment of 2m Swiss francs for FIFA for work undertaken between 1999 and 2002; Platini has quoted Blatter as blaming FIFA’s fragile finances.

Election rivals

Platini, in contrast with election rivals such as Prince Ali of Jordan and Chung Mong-joon of South Korea, has avoided facing the international media to discuss his declared bid for the FIFA presidency.

No date has yet been set for the launch of his manifesto though the deadline for nominations to be registered with FIFA is now only three weeks away, on October 26. This is two days before the Strasbourg forum.

The pressure group #NewFIFANow which has issued the invitations to contenders last month has said that Platini is the only one definitively unable to attend. Prince Ali and Chung have yet to respond either way.

A statement said: “Michel Platini has responded, saying he cannot go [to Stasbourg].

“Three others have asked for a change of date which we’re currently looking at, as we would like to be able to accommodate them in the interests of the football fan community and other stakeholders.

“Others (Dr Chung, Prince Ali) we have not heard from.”

A UEFA spokesman said that Platini had “conflicting commitments.”

The initial concept of that forum was that candidates could “showcase their suitability for the top role in a sport rocked by serial allegations and investigations of corruption.”

Organisations and individuals scheduled to attend include Members of the European and UK Parliaments, as well as individuals and representatives from organisations interested in reform of FIFA. It would also be open to the media.

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