Michel Platini wants FIFA to focus more on football and less on politics if he is elected its next president.
Sepp Blatter tendered his resignation as Fifa president shortly after being re-elected president earlier this year and Uefa chief, Platini, is the favourite to succeed him when elections take place next February.
“We have to care about the game, not politics,” Platini told The Associated Press on Thursday, just a few hours before the start of FIFA’s executive committee in Zurich. “With me, there won’t be politics. With me, it’s about football, not politics.”
However, Platini’s critics reminded the Frenchman that he voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup weeks after meeting with then-France President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Platini acknowledged that he “might have told” American officials that he would vote for the rival United States bid. However, after a November 2010 meeting, hosted by Sarkozy abnd attended by senior Qatari officials, he switched his vote to Qatar. Platini has always denied he was told to vote for Qatar by the French president.
“Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good,” he said.
Platini said one of the aims of the next president is to “restore the image of FIFA” and make sure it’s free of corruption going forward.
“A good FIFA is like a good referee, nobody speaks about it,” he said.
He said FIFA has done a lot of good to develop the game and to transform football, and stressed the importance of ridding football’s governing body of corrupt individuals.
“There are a lot of good people in the executive committee,” Platini said. “It’s just some that are corrupt. If you do something wrong, you will be taken care of.”
He talked about the absence in Zurich this week of some executive members, such as Brazilian federation president Marco Polo Del Nero, who has not left his homeland since returning to the country following the arrest of seven Fifa officials in Zurich last May.
“It’s not the first time a member doesn’t come,” Platini said. “Of course, we are in a strange situation at the moment, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many journalists here.”