12 June 2014 | News Comments

Platini says he no longer supports Blatter

UEFA president Michael Platini has formally declared that he no longer supports Sepp Blatter as FIFA president, saying the world governing body needs "a breath of fresh air".

UEFA president Platini was a strong supporter of Blatter's in the past but believes it was wrong of the 78-year-old to go back on his word to stand down in 2011.

Platini, in Sao Paulo ahead of the opening match of the World Cup, said: "I do not support him. I have known him for a long time and I like him but I am not in favour of him having a new term.

"I supported him in 1998 but I do not support him in 2014. And in the future I will not support Mr Blatter.

"I told him. I think that FIFA needs a breath of fresh air.
"In 2011 he asked for our support [UEFA's] and told us that that would be his last term..."

Platini said it was still an possibility that he would run against Blatter but he would not decide until the end of August.

He added: "It is an option. But it is not because Blatter is running that Michel Platini will not run. And it is not because Blatter is not running that Michel Platini will run.

"My only concern is knowing what I want to do. I am 60 soon and I need to know what I want. I will take my time."

There was a European rebellion against Blatter's U-turn on his promise to stand down in 2015.

Asked about the response to Blatter, Platini said: "I was very proud of the Europeans."

England's football chiefs rounded on Blatter, telling him he should stand down next year and that his claim racism was behind World Cup corruption allegations was "offensive and totally unacceptable".

English FA chairman Greg Dyke responded forcefully to Blatter at a meeting of UEFA federations in Sao Paulo after the FIFA president had addressed the room indicating he would stand again for a fifth term.

Dyke said after the meeting: "What Mr Blatter said yesterday I found offensive. I said [to him], 'I regard the comments you made yesterday about the allegations in the British media in which you described them as racist as totally unacceptable.

"The allegations being made have nothing to do with racism - they are allegations about corruption within FIFA. These allegations need to be properly investigated and properly answered.

"Mr Blatter, many of us are deeply troubled by your reaction to these allegations. It's time for FIFA to stop attacking the messenger and instead consider and understand the message."

Dyke added that it was important to clarify whether FIFA's ethics investigator Michael Garcia - who will confirm on Wednesday that he has completed his case - has had access to the files of documents obtained by the Sunday Times newspaper alleging corruption in World Cup bidding.

"Mr Blatter, many of us are deeply troubled by your reaction to these allegations" - English FA chairman Greg Dyke

"We need to know from Mr Garcia if he was aware of the material in the Sunday Times before it was published and if not whether he will know extend his investigation to consider these allegations," Dyke said.

Dyke said Blatter should "stick" with his 2011 decision to step down next year and warned that FIFA was suffering from the constant bad publicity.

African officials were among those alleged to have taken payments from Qatar's former FIFA member Mohamed Bin Hammam, according to the Sunday Times.

UEFA's growing unhappiness also saw Dutch FA chief Michael van Praag, German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach and Norway's executive committee member Karen Espelund calling on the 78-year-old not to stand for a fifth term in office.

Van Praag is regarded as a possible challenger to Blatter, along with European clubs' chairman Karl Heinz Rummenigge - although there is no expectation they would beat the incumbent president.

The Dutchman did not rule himself out of mounting a challenge if Platini decides not to stand, but Niersbach did do so.