FIFA president Sepp Blatter has expressed his “sympathy” for Michel Platini’s attempt to become the next president of UEFA, but he did not go as far as endorsing the Frenchman’s candidacy.
Platini is standing against the incumbent Lennart Johansson, 77, for the UEFA presidency.
“When you play soccer there comes an age when you are not capable of playing any longer,” Blatter said at a press conference to mark the official opening of the French Football Federation’s new headquarters.
“If you ask me to choose between a football player and a director, my sympathy will go to the player,” Blatter added.
“Michel and I created the slogan “Football for all and all for football” back in 1998 and I’m not ashamed to say that I have sympathy for him.”
Platini, the former French captain and coach, who acted as Blatter’s personal advisor from 1998 to 2002, welcomed the FIFA president’s remarks.
“I am pleased that he sees me as a reliable candidate for the UEFA presidency,” Platini said.
“Mr Blatter is a man of great experience. He has tried to make people understand a certain number of things even if he has to remain impartial,” he added.
Platini admitted he had no idea about the likelihood of him winning the poll.
“There are about 20 federation presidents who have not clearly said who they will support,” Platini said.
“I really don’t know what’s going to happen. I can’t tell you if I’m going to win or lose.”