The former captain and manager of France has long been considered the favourite should Sepp Blatter step down at the end of what would be his fourth stint in office. However Platini has also said many times – and repeated it to this writer last year – that he would never run against Blatter.
The trouble is, the 76-year-old Swiss has stepped back from a statement two years ago that this would be his last term. Platini’s dilemma is that, if he wants the job, he must start campaigning behind the scenes now. This, like it or not, will mark him out as a potential rival to Blatter whose ruthlessly unrivalled ability to see off opponents (even former allies like, notably, Mohamed Bin Hammam) has never been in doubt.
Platini was tempted into talking about the issue last week.
As with any and every interview, he also had to deal with the same repetitious questions as always – duly repeating both his opposition to goal-line technology and his wish to see the 2022 World Cup in Qatar played in the winter with matches shared around neighbouring Gulf countries.
If a decision is needed it will not be until after that intriguing 2015 FIFA presidential election. Possible candidates, along with Blatter and Platini, include Spanish federation president Angel Maria Villar. Outsiders mentioned included two further FIFA vice-presidents in Asia’s Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan and CONCACAF’s Jeffrey Webb.
Platini, asked whether he had made up his mind to run, said: “I must first think about that. It depends on whether I have the taste for it. I remain still a few months to make a decision. ”
Asked about his relationship with Blatter, who brought Platini into FIFA in the first place, Platini said: “We have a good relationship but we can not always agree. We have different opinions on perhaps five per cent of all issues.”
Platini, turning to European club football, said there would be no exceptions made in enforcing financial fair play. He acknowledged the overwhelming success of the Champions League by saying it had “killed off all the other competitions.”
Europe’s competitive corpses include historic tournaments such as the Cup-winners Cup, which started in 1960 and ended in 1999, as well as the Intertoto Cup. The latter was the pioneering European club event in the late 1920s and 1930s and drifted on until a decade more when it was swallowed up in the preliminary rounds of the Europa League.
Platini denied there was any will to see the Europa League subsumed into the Champions League but acknowledged it needed significant promotional attention.