Platini hopes third FIFA candidate will emerge

Tue Dec 9, 2014 5:11am EST
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PARIS (Reuters) - Michel Platini is refusing to back incumbent Sepp Blatter or challenger Jerome Champagne in next year's FIFA presidential election with the UEFA boss saying he hopes a third candidate will emerge.

Speaking to French radio Europe 1 on Tuesday, the former France captain said that it was time for Blatter, who is running for a fifth consecutive term after being first elected in 1998, to leave the stage.

"I supported him in 1998 because I think he was the right person at the time but after five (sic) terms it is time to let some fresh air in and leave the place to someone else," the Frenchman said.

"The image of FIFA is very, very, very bad so that's why I think it would be good that he (Blatter) stops, but I don't think he wants to."

Asked who he would back for the election, Platini said none of the two candidates had his preference.

"Neither," said the 59-year-old, who confirmed in August that he would not be running in the election due to be held next May.

"I hope others will run," he added, explaining that a candidate from another continent would stand a better chance of usurping Blatter.

"Another European candidate would have very little chance of winning," Platini said.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by John O'Brien)

Michel Platini during a ceremony in Geneva September 19, 2014. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy