PORT LOUIS: The long shadow of future elections spread across the run-up to FIFA Congress with Michel Platini complaining that it was not UEFA which had prevented the reform process being wrapped up this week writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The European federation has been caught in a crossfire over several issues including integrity checks as well as age and term limits.

Platini is favourite to step up as president of FIFA if Sepp Blatter retires in 2015 but the Swiss has lately pulled back from earlier retirement talk.

The French president of UEFA suggested postponement of a decision on age and term limits was deliberate.

The issues are on the agenda for tomorrow’s congress but in such a vague form that they could not have been expected to achieve the necessary three-quarters majority for a change to statutes.

Speculation has arisen that this is because Blatter may wish to stand again for the presidency in 2015 when he will be 79. This contrasts with the rules and regulations of several FIFA confederations which have an age limit of 70. These include the African and Asian governing bodies.

Strategy meeting

Platini, after a strategy meeting of European federations, said: “We have been speaking about this for two years. The seven European members of the executive committee were not happy about the postponement.

“Perhaps there is some politics inside FIFA . . . but if they don’t want these reforms then they are not to say that it is Europe who stopped it. We followed them from the beginning. The rest is politics.”

He insisted Europe supported certain age and term limits and complained that FIFA had allowed the issue to drag far beyond the necessary time.

Blatter has said the issue was deferred to next year’s Sao Paulo congress for a consensus decision. Platini has his doubts.

He said: “In two years, do you think there will be an agreement? No. Because it concerns Blatter, it concerns me, it concerns the age, it concerns people of 83 years. It concerns the people who are judge and jury.

“It is clear why it has not gone to the Congress. I think we know that.”