FIFA to decide on election date; Platini gains support

Author: associated press
Published: Updated:

ZURICH (AP) – FIFA executives were meeting Monday to choose a presidential election date, with UEFA President Michel Platini gaining support to succeed Sepp Blatter.

Platini has been asked to run by the majority of FIFA’s confederations but has not yet decided whether to be a candidate, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Platini is not discussing his plans in public.

FIFA’s 209 members, rather than the six confederation leaders, vote on the FIFA president.

Discussing FIFA in an interview with the latest edition of “World Soccer” magazine, Platini said: “As for the future … I do know, but I can’t tell you.”

Platini decided not to run in the May presidential election when Blatter beat Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein. Platini supported the prince’s campaign but could not deliver all 53 European votes.

Four days after winning a fifth term, Blatter announced plans to quit under the weight of criminal investigations into FIFA corruption.

December is the earliest possible date for a new election, but that could clash with the Club World Cup in Japan. An early 2016 election seems more likely, with the FIFA hierarchy and media already coming to Zurich for the Ballon d’Or ceremony on Jan. 11.

Prince Ali broke more than a month of silence on Monday to tell The Associated Press that a December election would not provide enough time for the “meaningful change in the leadership of FIFA that we so desperately need.”

The prince, who advocates a March election but provided no indication of his own presidential ambitions, wants a leader from outside the sport to oversee the next election and reforms of scandal-scarred FIFA – with Blatter out immediately.

Prince Ali believes that Blatter “cannot be permitted to plan his succession and manage this election process.”

“President Blatter’s resignation cannot be dragged out any longer. He must leave now,” Prince Ali, a vice president for four years until May, said in a statement to the AP.

“An interim independent leadership must be appointed to administer the process of the elections, in addition to the reforms that are being discussed prior to the elections,” he added.

Prince Ali joined longtime World Cup sponsor Coca-Cola and former FIFA advisers Transparency International in calling to exclude a man who presided over a scandal-hit organization from the process of shaping its future.

They want FIFA to appoint a respected figure from outside the sport and Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general from Ghana, has been mentioned for the role.

“The rumors linking Mr. Annan to the FIFA job are just that: rumors,” Annan’s office told the AP, stressing that he is currently “fully committed” to other roles.

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