Brazilian World Cup winner turned politician Romario has compared Uefa president Michel Platini to outgoing Fifa chief Sepp Blatter.
Now a Brazilian senator and an outspoken critic of corruption within Brazilian football, the 1994 World Cup-winning striker was asked his thoughts on the forthcoming leadership election at FIFA, where Platini is favourite to succeed Blatter.
“Fifa is corrupt and at its heart is a cartel. Some of them have been arrested and others will follow. I hope and pray every day that Blatter will be one of them,” Romario told Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday.
“As for Platini, he’s from the same school as Blatter,” said the 49-year-old former PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona striker.
FIFA has been embroiled in a major corruption scandal, but while not implicating Platini in any wrongdoing, he said the Frenchman had moved in the same circles as Blatter.
“Blatter’s at the head of this school of dishonest people who can influence the world of football without necessarily being corrupt,” Romario added.
“I can’t say that Platini is corrupt. But it is clear that his way of leading UEFA is not the best. Platini is part of this world and there is nothing positive in his management.”
Platini is favourite to take over from Blatter with the election for a new football chief scheduled for February 26 next.
Other candidates are South Korean magnate and former FIFA vice-President Chung Mong-Joon, Prince Ali from Jordan, Liberia’s Federation chief Musa Bility, and ex-footballers David Nakhid of Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria’s Segun Odegbami.