By Courtney Trenwith
Michel Platini has backed the Jordanian prince to be the new FIFA boss, accusing Sepp Blatter of lying to him by promising he would not run for a fifth term
The head of Europe’s football federation has backed Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein to oust Sepp Blatter as president of the football world governing body FIFA, accusing the incumbent of lying to him.
UEFA president, Platini, who has backed Blatter in previous elections, claimed in 2011 the Swiss official had said he would serve one last term but was now seeking a fifth term because he could not let go of power.
“He asked us face to face to support him for what would be his last mandate,” Platini told French sports newspaper L’Equipe, referring to the 2011 conversation.
“I have the unpleasant feeling of having given my support on the basis of a lie.
“I understand the fear of emptiness he must feel, that is human. [But] you have to be capable of handing over the levers of power at the right time and not be guilty of holding on to it at any cost.”
Blatter is favourite to win the vote on Friday and has the backing of most Asian and African football federations, including those in the GCC.
Prince Ali is the only other contender and is relying mostly on European votes.
Announcing his manifesto in April, he demanded immediate change in the organisation and pledged to transform its reputation and guarantee development.
On Monday Platini agreed it was time for new blood in FIFA and said Prince Ali, 39, would make a “great president”.
“He is not a politician and he does not need FIFA to exist,” he was quoted as saying.
Blatter’s last term has been plagued by allegations of corruption, including relating to the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, and calls for a clean-up of the organisation.
He has said he needs a fifth term to complete his “mission” and explained his change of mind by saying “times change” and that he feels fit enough for a fifth term.
But Platini rebuked the 79-year-old’s comments.
“He is not staying on because he has a job to complete or because he still has some big projects to carry out for FIFA,” Platini was quoted as saying.
“No, he simply is scared of what the future holds for him having consecrated his life to FIFA to the point that he identifies himself totally with it.”
Platini is a member of the FIFA executive but does not vote in the election. The Frenchman decided against challenging Blatter this time but has not ruled out standing in 2019, AFP said.