AFC demands new Fifa setup to place football ‘at its heart’, hails ‘unique’ Michel Platini
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Thursday backed Michel Platini to take over Fifa, saying he would help ensure a smooth transition for the world governing body from the scandal-tainted Sepp Blatter era.
The endorsement by the AFC is important for the Uefa president, who 24 hours earlier said he would run for Fifa president
Blatter announced he was standing down, shortly after being re-elected as president in June, following the emergence of a major corruption scandal.
The election is set for February 26 next year
“We have of course noted Michel Platini’s decision to stand, and he is certainly a unique candidate who would bring stability and a smooth transition to normality for Fifa in this difficult situation,” AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa said in a statement.
“To stabilise, (Fifa) needs leadership, experience and new ideas, but above all it needs football to be placed at its heart.”
He called on the AFC to “remain as united as possible behind the single best candidate.”
Platini, 60, is on a shortlist of declared and likely candidates that includes Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan and South Korean billionaire Chung Mong-joon, who confirmed his candidacy on Thursday.
Platini has made increasing calls for reform of the world body in recent months.
These have been heightened since US authorities charged 14 people – including seven Fifa officials who were arrested in Zurich in May – with corruption.
The AFC statement said: “We should also remember that the Fifa president is only one part of Fifa, which is why it is so important to get the reforms right”.
“Everybody accepts the need for change in Fifa, and in addition to changing the president much of the rest of Fifa’s organisation and the way it functions need to be modernised as well,” the AFC president said.
However, Platini came under attack from Chung, who said the Frenchman is too tainted by his past associations with Blatter to take the role of president.
“Platini is good for football, but whether he can be a good Fifa president? I don’t think so. He is a product of the current Fifa system,” Chung said.
“There are several questions we can have whether Platini can symbolise a new era for Fifa or whether he is a protege of Blatter.
“I want to ask Michel whether he really believes that he can cut off his relationship with Blatter; whether he can reveal all the wrongdoings, corruptions, criminal acts committed by Blatter; whether he can really disclose all those things.”
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Updated: July 30, 2015 04:00 AM