ZURICH: Sepp Blatter has insisted he remains as determined as ever both to see through the reforms of FIFA which he initiated last year and to see out his current term of office writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Blatter, 76-year-old Swiss, was re-elected last year for a fourth stint at the head of world football’s governing body. He has said he will retire at its conclusion in 2015 and indicated, in an interview with AFP, Frenchman Michel Platini as his most likely successor.

Doubts have been voiced by critics whether Blatter really would step down in three years’ time but he said: “Yes I have already made that clear. Just allow me to finish in a proper manner.

“I want to be able to complete my work which has not been as bad as it is made out to be in some sectors of the media and in certain parts of the world. If I do not succeed in putting the FIFA organisation back in good order, I will have failed. But I am certain I will succeed.”

Asked if he felt he was being unfairly treated by some federations notably in Europe, Blatter replied: “I wouldn’t say unfairly treated – maybe misunderstood, but what do you want? Football incites great passions, football can be crazy. But I must say we now have this Anglo-Germano alliance which is not at all natural if you go by world history. Great Britain and Germany have never been allies.”

Blatter blamed England’s defeat in the 2018 World Cup bid process for his unpopularity there and club-led criticism for dissatisfaction in Germany.He  thought German clubs resented the monies FIFA earned on the back of their players.

Blatter added: “All that is open for discussion. Personally I am willing to talk about this and maybe then they will stop saying: ‘Blatter you have been in the job long enough, it’s time to go.'”

On the issue of his succession Blatter cautioned that Platini – with whom he does not see eye to eye on every issue – would find leading FIFA very different to his present role at the head of European federation UEFA.

Blatter brought Platini into FIFA in 1998 after having been elected for the first time as president following 23 years in the world federation as development officer then general secretary and chief executive.

Platini had headed up the French organization of the World Cup that year and, on completing his duties, became Blatter’s ‘football counsellor’. In 2007 Platini established his own power base after ousting Lennart Johansson as president of UEFA.

Blatter said: “He was my disciple but I think that when he makes the move from UEFA to the presidency, he will have to view football from another dimension. It is very much easier to lead UEFA, which is a wealthy organisation, which has everything. He is in a comfy armchair there.

“In any case the last time we spoke about this he told me that he would not be the same kind of president than I have been. But each president has his own style.”


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