Michel Platini believes the English media’s persistent criticism of FIFA could have a negative impact on their 2018 World Cup bid.
FIFA executive committee members Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii were suspended on Thursday following allegations of corruption over World Cup votes that came out in a Sunday Times investigation.
Platini does not necessarily think this will undermine England’s chances of staging the event in 2018, but the UEFA president feels the English media’s largely coverage of FIFA over the years could count against them.
Speaking about the latest voting scandal, Platini, who is also a Fifa vice-president, told The Independent: “I don’t think it’s a problem.”
“These investigations are just people doing their job, no? If they [those spearheading the England bid] do not have a good feeling about FIFA, that’s nothing to do with these investigations, but that comes from what the English press have been writing about FIFA for very many years.
“That could be a problem for the bid. But this? No.
“Why not [make the allegation of corruption], if it’s there? Anyway, I think people have already decided which way they are voting.”
Platini admitted that there were many areas of the game that could be improved but he views match-fixing as the biggest threat to football’s future.
“Yes, we have problems with violence, with racism, with doping,” he said. “But to fix a game is to attack the soul of football.
“You know, I scored 400 goals in my career. That’s 400 goalkeeping mistakes.
“You can’t investigate every one. And I’m not against betting. You have had betting in your English culture for many years.
“It is not so in France. But I don’t mind betting. I mind match-fixing. It is a big problem.”
With regard to issues on the pitch there are growing calls for the introduction of goal-line technology, but Platini remains opposed to the idea.
He said: “If we put in video technology, people will come back in two years and say ‘why isn’t there technology for the whole penalty area?’
“Then they will say ‘why isn’t there offside-line technology?’ Then it becomes another game, not football.”