Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 31st 2015 Contents GENEVA---Michel Platini hopes he
made a decisive move early in the
seven-month campaign to become Fifa
Three months from the deadline to
apply, Platini is already seizing on broad
support from the leaders of soccer s six
Still, encouragement to run is not the
same as guaranteed votes for the UEFA
president and France great.
Fifa members elect the president, and
those 209 national federations can
ignore regional orders when they enter
the secrecy of the voting booths on
February 26 in Zurich.
Here are some things to know about
possible tactics, plots and alliances
Platini, a former Sepp Blatter ally-
turned-adversary, confirmed the obvious
by publicly announcing he would seek
a job for which he has long seemed the
If Blatter hadn t reneged on a 2011
promise to leave office this year, Platini
likely would already be installed at Fifa s
Everything changed on May 27 when
a United States federal investigation of
corruption in world soccer was
unleashed on Fifa. Though Blatter won
re-election two days later, it took only
four more days before he decided to
Platini, a Fifa insider after 13 years
as executive committee member, has
taken advantage of his access to soccer
power brokers. At the Champions
League final in Berlin and Fifa meetings
in Zurich and St Petersburg, Russia, he
outlined his plans and gained their sup-
Platini hopes to have a bedrock of
support before other candidates can
mount a challenge, but he also put a
big target on his back long before elec-
Fifa election campaigning tends to
focus on continental blocs of support,
even if they don t necessarily hold firm.
Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan
got pledges from all six Fifa confeder-
ations in his 133-73 loss to Blatter on
May 29. Fifa rules require 140 votes for
victory, though at least 115 should mean
momentum to win.
Platini launched his campaign on
Wednesday counting on support from
leaders of the Asian Football Confed-
eration (46 Fifa voting mem-
bers) and CONMEBOL (10).
Last Sunday, he briefed lead-
ers of Concacaf (35) at the
Gold Cup final in Philadel-
Asia is home to likely
rival candidates, and
has been Platini s
clear target to
Sheikh Ahmad al-
Fahad al-Sabah of
Since Blatter s
exit speech on
June 2, Platini has
met with Olympic
powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad in Berlin,
Lausanne, Zurich, and St. Petersburg.
An intriguing region is Africa, which
has 54 votes. Soccer leaders there have
long been publicly loyal to Blatter, so
simply moving over to Platini would be
quite a switch in principle.
Africa and 11-member Oceania could
yet seek discreet guidance from Blatter,
who is scheduled to stay in office and
host the election congress.
Platini s long track record on and off
the field lets voters easily find something
they like about him.
As an all-time great player, winning
top individual honors and titles with
France and Juventus, Platini portrays
himself as a football romantic who loves
the game above all.
As chief organiser of the 1998 World
Cup in France, and lead decision-maker
in shaping the Champions League and
European Championship, he knows how
To Fifa s old guard, he is part of the
system: Platini was at Blatter s side from
the start of his presidency in 1998, as
a campaign manager then football advis-
er. Their rift deepened over Blatter s
refusal to leave office rather than policy
To Fifa modernizers, Platini is not
accused of personal financial corruption,
nor implicated in the US federal case.
The most recent criticism he s received
was for voting for Qatar as 2022 World
Does Platini have a big idea to enact
as Fifa president---or do Fifa voters even
look for one? It s unclear many Fifa
members want the reforms demanded
by World Cup sponsors.
He must show he represents all of
Fifa, and not just a rich European elite
where clubs lure players from leagues
Blatter has often goaded other regions
to see UEFA as "arrogant and selfish,"
as Platini suggested in his UEFA accept-
ance speech in March.
"We know that we make mistakes,
and are not necessarily any better than
anyone else," Platini said then in Vien-
na.Platini s plans should become clearer
on August 27 at his annual media brief-
ing in Monaco at the Champions League
draw. On September 15-16, he will meet
UEFA member federations in Malta.
One probable campaign duty is a tel-
evised debate with other candidates.
British and Dutch broadcasters have
had proposals refused in previous Fifa
Platini won t relish arguing in English,
though his mastery of the language is
better than he acknowledges.
Today, Platini s most likely election
opponents are two former Fifa vice pres-
idents from Asia.Though Diego
Maradona and Zico, plus Liberia soccer
president Musa Bility, want to be election
players, they must find five nominations
from Fifa members.
South Korean politician Chung Mong-
joon is using his comeback four years
after being ousted from Fifa to criticise
Platini. Prince Ali is fresh from a dignified
defeat to Blatter, though stripped now
of votes from Platini s Europe.
Platini s most difficult opponent is
likely to be Sheikh Ahmad.
The 53-year-old Kuwaiti joined the
Fifa executive committee only two
months ago, and publicly said this elec-
tion is too soon for him.
Still, as the Olympic kingmaker of
recent years, he has impressive vote-
The Olympic-Fifa links run deep.
Blatter, Sheikh Ahmad, and African
leader Issa Hayatou have a combined
53 years as IOC members, and each for
the past 14 years. If their efforts ever
combined, Platini would truly be in a
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SUNIL NARINE had
the best economy
rate (4.94) and most
maidens (3) in the
"It will never be
worth even a tiny
fraction of the
likes of the IPL as
this is a small
hard times, but
we will move into
from next year."
League CEO DAMIEN
O'DONOHOE on the
future of the tourna-
PARIS---Referee Said Ennjimi has
been handed a four-month
suspension by the French football
federation after criticising his
superiors following an incident in
which he asked players for
The French federation said Ennjimi
was also given an eighth-month
suspended sentence after he
complained of being the victim of a
Ennjimi accused referees' technical
director Pascal Garibian of "carrying a
reign of terror" after he was
provisionally suspended in the wake
of the incident last season.
Ahead of Marseille's home match
against Lorient, Ennjimi, one of the
league's most experienced referees,
had asked Marseille officials for six
autographed jerseys for charity
organisations. But Marseille lost the
game 5-3 and the players refused to
Ennjimi, who was infuriated by the
players' decision, said he had offered
to buy the jerseys.
French referee gets four-month suspension
(Ext: 2069, 2071,
...to Fifa's fiefdom
In this May 28, 2015 file picture, UEFA-
President Michel Platini speaks during
a news conference after a meeting of
the European Soccer federation UEFA
in Zurich, Switzerland. AP FILE
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