ZURICH: Michel Platini was left looking even more of a ditherer after Sepp Blatter reiterated his recent comments about being willing to stand next year for a fifth term as president of world federation FIFA writes SEPP BLATTER.
Platini, French president of European federation UEFA, had long been considered a favourite for the succession even though the 24/7 life of a FIFA leader as Blatter has defined the job, would not be to his personal liking.
It had been assumed therefore, that Platini would want to take UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino with him to Zurich – should be want to concede Europe to take on the world.
Last year Blatter signalled that he would wait until after this year’s World Cup before making an announcement. Platini followed suit.
Blatter then changed the game, first by saying he would tell FIFA Congress in Sao Paulo in June – on the eve of the World Cup – of his intentions. The, in Sochi earlier this month, he told a Swiss radio channel that he was willing to run again “if someone should ask me.”
Now Blatter, 78 next month, has repeated that sentiment – even though, while embattled at FIFA Congress in 2011, he had suggested his current term would be his last.
Speaking to local media in Switzerland, he said: “I’m not going to announce my candidacy but if FIFA member associations ask me then I would not say No. If my health is right, I will continue with my mission.
“I had a health check recently. The heart professor was satisfied with my condition so the engine is OK. The bodywork, of course, is up to me.”
Re-election next year would mean Blatter envisaging continuing until the age of 83. This would be a year older than was his predecessor, Brazilian Joao Havelange, who stepped down in 1998 aged 82.
So, Blatter is ready to go again and former FIFA aide Jerome Champagne has also declared himself a candidate, while conceding that he did not think he could beat Blatter.
Platini appears to have been left behind on the starting grid. He may think he can serve football best by remaining next year as president of UEFA to see through financial fair play.