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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Michel Platini announces FIFA presidency run: I want to restore dignity to world football

UEFA President Michel Platini
UEFA President Michel Platini

Michel Platini has formally announced he will run for the FIFA presidency, saying he wants to restore dignity to the world governing body.

The 60-year-old UEFA president has written to all 209 member associations of FIFA to inform them of his intentions to stand to succeed Sepp Blatter.

Platini said in the letter: "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."

Blatter has announced he is to step down on February 26 due to the corruption crisis which has engulfed the organisation.

The Frenchman said he wants to "to give FIFA back the dignity and the position it deserves".

Platini added: "This was a very personal, carefully considered decision, one in which I weighed up the future of football alongside my own future. I was also guided by the esteem, support and encouragement that many of you have shown me.

"During this last half-century or so, FIFA has only had two presidents. This extreme stability is something of a paradox in a world that has experienced radical upheavals and in a sport that has undergone considerable economic change. However, recent events force the supreme governing body of world football to turn over a new leaf and rethink its governance."

Platini has been UEFA president since 2007 and was a supporter of Blatter in the past, but fell out with him when the 79-year-old back-tracked on his 2011 promise to step down at the end of his fourth term in office.

Blatter was re-elected in May, but within four days had announced he would quit after FIFA's involvement in payments to officials was uncovered.

Platini has been promised the support of the four of the six FIFA confederations, including the powerful Asian bloc, which makes him the clear favourite to succeed Blatter.

The Football Association is expected to back him along with most, if not all, countries in Europe.

Platini said he was standing as a candidate "with enthusiasm and conviction, but also with the humility of someone who knows that he cannot succeed on his own".

He added: "I am counting on your support and our common love of football so that, together, we can give the tens of millions of football fans the FIFA that they want: a FIFA that is exemplary, united and shows solidarity, a FIFA that is respected, liked and of the people."

All nominations for the February 26 election have to be submitted by October 26.

If Platini succeeds in becoming FIFA president, one implication is a likely slow-down in the further introduction of new technology such as video replays into the game.

Platini has been an opponent of goal-line technology, which has been adopted by both the Premier League and by FIFA for their competitions, and instead has favoured an extra official behind each goal-line.

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