UEFA president Michel Platini unhappy with way FIFA runs world football
Frenchman unlikely to stand for FIFA presidency at next year's elections
Sepp Blatter expected to stand for fifth term, breaking his 2011 promise
UEFA, Europe's governing body, does not want Blatter to stand unopposed
He was once considered the obvious choice to become the next leader of world football, but that vision appears to be waning.
Michel Platini is so disillusioned and frustrated at the way FIFA conducts itself that it would take an almighty change to persuade him to run for presidency of the ruling body, CNN has learned.
While UEFA has yet to approach anybody to stand against incumbent Sepp Blatter, there is only a 10% chance that Platini will be that man, a source close to the Frenchman told CNN.
Platini, the president of European football’s governing body, believes there would need to be unrecognizable change within FIFA to eradicate all traces of corruption before he considered his candidacy, the source said.
Last weekend, UK newspaper The Sunday Times published allegations claiming a Qatari official paid more than $5 million in an attempt to secure support for the Gulf state’s successful bid to host the 2022 tournament.
According to allegations, Mohamed bin Hammam made secret payments to soccer officials in the run-up to the controversial 2010 ballot.
Bin Hammam, the former president of the Asian Football Confederation, was a member of FIFA’s powerful 24-person executive committee charged with voting on who hosted the finals at the time of the vote in 2010.
Bin Hammam, who was banned for life from football the following year after separate bribery allegations, said he would not be making any comments on the new scandal other than he believed “that the truth will find its way to (the) public one way or another.”
The Qatar 2022 bid committee strenuously denies any wrongdoing or knowledge of any payments made on its behalf.
On Tuesday, the British Daily Telegraph reported Platini met with Bin Hammam just days before the World Cup was awarded to Qatar.
The source confirmed to CNN that while Platini did meet with Bin Hammam, the subject of the conversation was the FIFA presidency and not the 2022 World Cup.
According to the source, Bin Hammam wanted Platini to stand against Blatter in 2011 but the former France international player refused.
It was then, according to the source, that Bin Hammam decided to challenge Blatter himself, but was unsuccessful after being found guilty by a FIFA ethics committee of offering cash for votes and was banned for life.
In a copy of a letter written to the Daily Telegraph and provided to CNN, Platini describes the allegations as “astonishing.”
“I have obviously met with Mr. Mohamed Bin Hammam on many occasions in 2010 as we were both members of the same FIFA Executive Committee since 2002,” read the letter.
“During those conversations with Mr. Bin Hammam, the topic of the discussions was my potential candidature for the FIFA Presidency. Mr. Bin Hammam was indeed trying to convince me to become a candidate for the 2011 FIFA Presidential elections.
“Additionally, I wish to reiterate that I am the only member of the FIFA Executive Committee who publicly stated for which bid I have voted – proof of my full transparency – and that no-one ever dictates terms or conditions to me.
“Unfortunately, I am no longer surprised by the circulation of unfounded rumors which aim at tarnishing my image, especially in such an important time for the future of football.”
The source told CNN that the current allegations have not damaged Platini’s reputation within UEFA, although he is believed to have grown tired of the constant sniping,
While Platini has been one of the only men to reveal he voted for Qatar, the admission has left him open to attacks, while others who did likewise remain in the shadows.
The episode has made Platini seriously consider whether he will ever run for FIFA, the source told CNN, adding that the Frenchman believes he may be best suited to remaining in Switzerland and working on a number of other football projects.
While Platini, 58, does not intend to stand against Blatter in the presidential contest, UEFA would like to avoid a scenario where the 78-year-old runs for a fifth consecutive term unopposed.
Blatter, 78, is expected to declare his intention to stand once again when he addresses FIFA’s 209 members this weekend and go back on the promise he made not to stand again.
The other man who could challenge Blatter is Frenchman Jerome Champagne – a man who has already stated he is unlikely to win should Blatter stand again. His campaign has inspired little confidence at UEFA.
UEFA is keen to ensure it picks a candidate, thought to be from its committee, which does not stand to lose their career if defeated.
A number of UEFA officials are expected to stage a sit-down protest against Blatter at the FIFA EXCO meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
It is hoped that the protest will give FIFA an indication of the frustration and annoyance at the way the game’s governing body is running football.