Blatter gears up for Platini showdown
Published: 26.03.13 / Written by: David Gold
Sepp Blatter did promise when he was elected to the FIFA Presidency again in 2011 that he would stand down in 2015.
He told UEFA that it would be his final four year term, and that helped secure the votes of Europe, England aside.
Michel Platini is the long assumed front runner to take Blatterís place. He has been praised in the past by the Swiss, yet the rumours are starting to begin that Blatter will actually stand for election once again, despite pledging not to. He has indicated recently that he may not hand over the reins as once promised, leaving the question open when asked by journalists about his future intentions.
Blatter would have a tough job getting re-elected after dragging the body through such a difficult period. He is seen as an obstacle to change and reform, although there are genuine attempts at the moment to shake up the organisation. But there are modernising influences in FIFA now, among them Jordanís Prince Ali, Germanyís Theo Zwanziger and others who may be keen to ensure that Blatter does not win another term for the organisationís credibility.
Defeating Platini will be a tough ask. He is known as one FIFA member who is very much incorruptible, and as much as he may be maligned by his critics, the Frenchman is an honest and fair minded individual who would be a welcome face as the next FIFA President, if not for his policies then at least for the image he would bring.
But is Blatter changing his tune and gearing up to take Platini on? He has just criticised Platiniís plans to have a multi country Euro 2020, where matches would be staged across the length and breadth of the continent. Such plans, according to Blatter, take away from the character of the tournament.
Blatterís words are curious given his previous praise of Platini. "Michel Platini is ready. If he wishes. He says 'I do not know'Ö but deep down, he wants it," Blatter once said in an interview with France Football. "He will be a good president of course. He will not be the same president as me, because everyone is different, but he will be good president."
Forward to the present day, and Blatterís tune has changed. "A tournament should be played in one country, that's how you build identity and euphoria," Blatter was quoted by Kicker. "The 2020 tournament has been fragmented.
"It's not a European Championship anymore. It should be called something else - I don't know what. Such a European Championship lacks heart and soul. He believed in this idea. I told him that it was unthinkable. That is why I also told Platini his idea was not new."
Is this the sign of a battle ahead? If so, it could be the hardest Blatter has had yet.