Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Platini confident of winning ballot for UEFA chief

Platini confident of winning ballot for UEFA chief

Michel Platini already feels like a winner.
The former France playmaker is challenging Lennart Johansson for the presidency of UEFA, the European governing body of soccer. Johansson, a 77-year-old Swede, has held the post since 1990 and is bidding for his fifth term.
"I remain a competitor," Platini said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. "As a player, I understood the values of competition. I know how to appreciate victory, because I'm not scared to lose."
A three-time European player of the year, Platini believes he has the edge going into Friday's vote despite a lack of administrative experience.
"I feel something ... an air, an aria, that people think I can win," the 51-year-old said. "I have a philosophy: I know where I'm going, and I know where soccer has to go."
The vote will be by the 52 heads of European national soccer federations at the UEFA congress. Johansson and Platini are the only candidates.
Both men have prominent supporters.
FIFA chief Sepp Blatter, who brought Platini into soccer politics, has made halfhearted attempts to stay neutral, at the same time dropping hints that he prefers the Frenchman.
Johansson enjoys the support of Franz Beckenbauer, the German great who was the chief organizer of last year's very successful World Cup in Germany.
"We have a lot to thank Lennart Johansson for," Beckenbauer said in a German newspaper interview published on Tuesday. "It's the duty of the DFB (German federation) to support Johansson at this election. There has never been a better or a more successful UEFA president."
Beckenbauer entertained thoughts of bidding for the post, provided Johansson opted out. When the Swede delayed his retirement, Beckenbauer took himself out of the race. Now, Beckenbauer hopes to get one of two European spots on the executive of FIFA.
While Platini feels confident ahead of the vote, so does Johansson.
"If they vote as they tell me that they will vote, which I have reasons to believe they will, then I will win," Johansson said of the 52 federation chiefs.
But the ballot is secret and "a secret vote means people can say one thing and do something else. That makes the situation more difficult to predict," he said.
There are few fundamental differences between Johansson and Platini, apart from their 26-year age difference.
Platini wants to curb the influence of Europe's "big clubs" known as G-14, and wants to cut Champions League entries from the biggest leagues from four to three, giving smaller nations more opportunity to break into the lucrative competition.
Johansson won't touch the system he helped install.
"I am not going to make any change in the existing competition which is praised by the players, by the clubs, and by the small nations. I see no reason," Johansson said. "Give him the opportunity to tell us why we should change such a success story. The Champions League is sent by television all over the world and many sports try to copy it."
Platini also wants to distance UEFA from the legal controls of the European Union and to make the presidency more executive, similar to the role played by Blatter at FIFA.
Once the mastermind of a brilliant France midfield foursome, Platini may lack Johansson's political nous but he has toured Europe extensively and canvassed smaller nations for their support.
"I am cool. Calm," Platini told the French sports daily L'Equipe this week. "I haven't sold my soul to get elected. If I lose, I'll be disappointed because I am a winner, but basically, I've already won.
"My victory is to have explained to the world my vision and my philosophy of soccer and to have convinced many."


Updated : 2021-10-28 00:08 GMT+08:00