Wed, Nov 11, 2015 - Page 20 News List

UEFA general secretary ‘to withdraw’ from FIFA election if Platini stands


UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino yesterday vowed to withdraw from FIFA’s presidential election if UEFA president Michel Platini, who is serving a 90-day ban from all soccer-related activities, is allowed to stand.

“Platini is my president and I have worked with him for nine years. It is clear that I have his support, otherwise I would not be running,” Infantino told Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport.

“There is another thing that must be clarified. My candidacy is not in opposition to Michel. If he is able to stand, I will withdraw. It is a simple principle of loyalty, but, right now, I am a candidate 100 percent and I am moving forward, not only for Europe but for world football,” Infantino added.


Infantino said he shared “lots of points in common” with Platini in relation to “development and reforms,” but that he also had his own ideas.

“I am Infantino and Platini is Platini. It is my program. The priorities are the same, but there will be some differences,” he said.

Yet Infantino said that, in principle, he, as a candidate, was focused on several key reforms, one of which is the “indispensable” reform of world governing body FIFA.

“The reform of FIFA. It is indispensable. We need financial transparency, so that we know what money is coming in and which is going out,” he said.

“Also, the separation of powers. The executive will soon become known as the council and will become a political body, separate from the administration. We also have to put limits on mandates and the age at which they can be held,” he added.

“Secondly, decisions have to become democratic. There are 209 national federations, big and small, and each one should have a say, not just every four years, to elect the president. We need made-to-measure plans in terms of investing in development. In recent years we have spoken very little about football,” Infantino said.

“FIFA has huge revenues from the World Cup and should be investing them, taking into account the different needs. Germany, for example, has different needs compared to Burundi,” he added.


The African vote is expected to be crucial for whoever is standing for the FIFA presidency and Infantino said FIFA could do more to help the continent.

“FIFA can do a lot for Africa, helping them by investing in basic necessities. Sometimes, they even struggle to organize games because the travel costs are too expensive. That should not be happening,” he said.

Seven candidates are in the running to succeed FIFA president Sepp Blatter in the Feb. 26 election.

The other five candidates are Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, Musa Bility, Jerome Champagne, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa and Tokyo Sexwale.

Asian soccer head Sheikh Salman is expected to step aside should Platini emerge unscathed from the investigation.

However, until then, Infantino said that he would continue to act as though he was a candidate.

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