Platini says he alone has vision to lead crisis-shaken FIFA

Thu Oct 29, 2015 7:40am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Suspended UEFA head Michel Platini said on Thursday he was the only person with the vision to lead soccer's world governing body FIFA out of a corruption scandal but there were opponents who "don't want to give football back to the players".

"I'm not in a penal colony or a Siberian Gulag," the European soccer authority chief said of a 90-day provisional suspension excluding him from campaigning for February elections to the FIFA presidency. "I'm waiting for events to unfold."

FIFA has been embroiled in a widening corruption scandal since 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives were indicted by the United States in May.

Since then, Swiss authorities have opened their own investigation into FIFA's activities and FIFA's own Ethics Committee has suspended both President Sepp Blatter and Platini, who had been favorite to replace him. Platini denies wrongdoing and is fighting the suspension.

"People want to prevent me running because they know that I have every chance of winning," Platini, one of seven candidates in the race for the presidency, said in interview published by British newspaper the Daily Telegraph and the Swiss French-language Le Matin.

Platini portrayed himself as the man to bring world soccer back to its sporting roots.

"I get the impression they don't want a former player running FIFA, as if they don't want to give football back to the players. But I am the only one who has a vision right across football," he said, citing his record as player, France coach and UEFA president.

"I am, in all modesty, the best-placed person to run world football."


Michel Platini smiles during a news conference at the Geneva Press Club in Geneva, Switzerland, in this April 29, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Files