Michel Platini intends to stand for FIFA presidency next February, but will this do more harm than good to football if he succeeds?
There are times in life when you have to take your destiny into your own hands. I am at one of those decisive moments, at a juncture in my life and in events that are shaping the future of Fifa. -Michel Platini
The graceful and inspirational world’s of one of football’s most powerful men are meant to lure us into a false sense of security, leading us to believe that the future of football is being revolutionised by one of the game’s greatest players.
However, one of the main issues surrounding FIFA’s impurities is it’s corruption. The award of the next two World Cup’s to Russia has been the talk of much controversy, and Platini has openly admitted to voting for Qatar. Never mind the alleged bribing of FIFA officials to secure the tournament in 2022, the stupidity of voting for a country clearly not able to host the World Cup would put doubt into one’s mind of the competence of the voter to run such an enormous organisation as FIFA.
Platini is confident that he will have the required support to replace Blatter, but some of his policies at UEFA have been questionable to say the least.
Deciding against goal line technology in the Champions League, and instead opting for extra officials was a bold (and really quite strange) move given that scarecrows would probably aid referees better than 99 percent of those extra officials, and although the idea of Financial Fair Play is a nice one, clubs have found ways to evade and work around the rules. In addition, deciding to hold Euro 2020 in thirteen different cities each in a different countries, is radical despite the “romanticism” Platini claims this creates.
The investigation by the FBI, Swiss officials and other law enforcements will continue long after Blatter’s reign has come to a close, and Platini’s involvement in FIFA’s executive committee, where he has been present since 2002, could be one of the reasons why Blatter’s closest rival in the last election believes that Platini is completely the wrong choice for football.
“Platini is not good for Fifa. Football’s fans and players deserve better. Fifa is engulfed in scandal. We must stop doing business as usual. The practice of backroom, under-the-table deals must end.”
“What is clear is that Fifa needs new, independent leadership, untainted by the practices of the past [Prince Ali of Jordan] ”
“Untainted by the practices of the past” seems to hint at Platini’s involvement in the recent scandals, and whilst that, like Blatter’s guilt, is yet unproven, it’s unlikely if elected that Platini will re-examine Michael Garcia’s report into Qatar’s World Cup bid. It would like plausible that the placing of Platini at the head of FIFA would not transform football at all, only impair it’s reputation should World Cup’s like those in Russia and Qatar continue to be selected.
The backing that Platini will receive looks to be coming from those in power who abuse their position, or downright fail it, such as the English FA’s chairman Greg Dyke. The individual who yells from the rooftops for Premier League “B” teams in Football League competitions publicly announced he will back Michel Platini’s bid- despite not seeing his manifesto..
What is needed is a widespread eradication of any hint of the Blatter years at FIFA. Anything that leads to, or points at corruption, scandals or an issue which poisons our game needs to be eliminated. Is Michel Platini the man to instigate these fundamental changes? His iron grip and successful leadership to the most part of UEFA would signal to some that a man in his position would be the clear candidate to lead world football into the next decade, but a quote by Edward Abbey about men in powerful positions is a good indicator as to why Platini may be a treacherous selection.
Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best.
Ultimately, it’s likely Platini will succeed. But it’s worrying what that will do to the beautiful game.