Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Platini and Johansson to vie for UEFA top job


UEFA president Lennart Johansson and the former France star Michel Platini met the filing deadline on Thursday to run for UEFA president.

Johansson, a 76-year-old Swede, has been UEFA president since 1990 and is seeking a final four-year term.

Platini, a three-time European player of the year, is a member of both the UEFA and FIFA executive committees and was president of the tournament organizing committee when France hosted the 1998 World Cup.

The presidential elections will be held on Jan. 26 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Johansson is 25 years older than Platini and one of the elder statesmen of world soccer, along with 70-year-old FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

The Swede is campaigning on his experience, arguing that he has overseen the growth of UEFA's club competitions and supported the game's grassroots.

A former national coach, Platini was a famed goalscoring midfielder. He is France's all-time record scorer with 41 goals in 72 games.

Platini has promised to fight against racism and help smaller clubs retain talented young players.

He has pledged to help curb the flow of talented young players to big clubs, many of whom come from poor countries in Africa, and he wants to promulgate European Commission laws to support this.

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