Football must not be overlooked in FIFA race – Platini

Although Platini, the UEFA president, agrees that reform of scandal-plagued FIFA has to be the priority in the run-up to the election on Feb.


26, he also believes it should not completely overshadow the sport itself, the source told Reuters.

Platini, who announced his intention to stand on July 29 and will hold his first media conference since then in Monaco on Friday, has spent the last few weeks meeting people outside soccer’s European ruling body UEFA to test the water.

He believes the future of the World Cup, the international calendar, changes to the laws of the game and the role of the law-making body IFAB (International Football Association Board) should be part of the debate, the source said.

Platini, a former France captain, who was one of the most gifted midfield players of his generation, also wants to discuss the reform of the transfer system and the role of agents.

One of Platini’s biggest gripes as UEFA president has been the so-called triple punishment in which a player who gives away a penalty is sent off and receives an automatic one-match ban.

Earlier this year, UEFA sent a proposal to IFAB for the end of the “triple punishment” system. However, the rule-making body agreed only to consider an end to the automatic suspension.

Platini is against the use of goal-line technology, which FIFA employs in its tournaments, and prefers the use of so-called additional assistant referees, one on each goal-line, to spot penalty-area infringements.

FIFA has not adopted the system and Platini has mockingly said that was because it was not FIFA chief Sepp Blatter’s idea.


Platini’s proposals on the World Cup could include expansion of the finals from the current 32 teams, the source said.

As UEFA president, he has already overseen an increase in the number of countries at the European championship finals from 16 to 24, starting from next year’s tournament in France.

The move has been criticised for diluting the strength of competition, especially after a successful Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine where 16 seemed to be the ideal number.

Platini is seen as the front-runner in the bid to replace Blatter who will relinquish his mandate at the Feb 26. election.

The source said the Frenchman wants to take his time over his manifesto and added he would travel widely from October.

Soccer’s world governing body has been plagued by allegations of corruption for years.

It was thrown into further turmoil in May when U.S. prosecutors indicted nine soccer officials and five marketing and broadcasting company executives over alleged offences, including fraud, money-laundering and racketeering.

(The story has been refiled to recast headline, no change to story)

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Neville Dalton)