Paris, (AFP): Michel Platini may have emerged as the favourite to succeed Sepp Blatter as president of scandal-riddled FIFA, but it is his close links to the veteran Swiss that threaten to end his dreams of running world football’s governing body.
Platini has tried to position himself as the man to clean up an organisation brought to its knees by endless corruption scandals in recent months.
But on Friday he was implicated as Swiss authorities opened criminal proceedings against Blatter, with the outgoing head of FIFA accused of making a “disloyal payment” to Platini of two million Swiss francs ($2.04 million, 1.8 million euros).
The office of Switzerland’s attorney general said the payment had been made in February 2011, allegedly “for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002.” Platini gave his support to Blatter when the Swiss won the 1998 FIFA presidential elections and was a close ally of Blatter’s for a long time.
The Frenchman turned 60 earlier this year, and having conquered Europe as a player and then become UEFA chief in 2007, he wants to take on the huge task of transforming FIFA’s damaged reputation.
He quickly emerged as the favourite to win the elections to replace Blatter, which will be held on February 26, 2016, but his rivals, including South Korea’s Chung Mong-Joon, have accused him of being tainted by association with the current FIFA chief.
Chung said that Blatter and Platini once had a “father and son” relationship even though the Frenchman has turned against the FIFA leader.
Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein is standing again and has describing Plaitini as “not good for football”.
Platini has had widespread backing in his desire to become FIFA chief, but he has also been criticised for his decision to support Qatar’s controversial bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
Platini was quick to admit that he voted for Qatar in an attempt to show that his horizons were not limited to Europe.