UEFA chief Michel Platini asks FIFA boss Sepp Blatter to step down
Zurich, May 28 (IANS)
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) President Michel Platini on Thursday revealed he has asked Sepp Blatter to stand down as FIFA president after seven of the organisation's officials were arrested on Wednesday as part of a FBI-led investigation into corruption and money-laundering dating back to 1991.
Blatter has not been implicated in the enquiry but people want the Swiss to resign given that the US Justice Department has said corruption has spread throughout FIFA.
However, the Swiss is expected to be re-elected for a fifth four-year term in Friday's presidential election, despite growing support for Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.
“I told him, 'Sepp, I'd like to speak to you man to man, face to face.' He said, 'It's too late. I can't all of a sudden leave when Congress starts this afternoon',” Platini was quoted.
“I told Blatter to leave, to step down because he is giving FIFA a terrible image. It's not easy to tell a friend that he must leave but that is the way history is going.”
“I'm saying this with sadness, with tears in my eyes. There have been too many scandals. Sometimes I have stomach troubles and that relates to FIFA problems. Honestly, myself as a lover of FIFA, I'm a great admirer of its history, I really don't know where to put myself,” he said.
Platini believes most of the European associations will vote against Blatter
The 59-year-old Frenchman has also urged his organisation's 54 members to cast their votes against Blatter because of the issue.
“I have had enough. Enough is enough. Too much is too much. Today we had a meeting of the 54 members. Tomorrow (Friday), when it comes to the election of the presidency, a very big majority of European national associations will vote Prince Ali,” he said.
“People don't want (Blatter) anymore and I don't want him anymore either. I have always said they want FIFA to be strong and FIFA is no longer strong. I am still trying to convince some (European football associations) who are not totally convinced,” he concluded.