One of the key requirements for the incoming FIFA President will be to restore the tarnished reputation left under the jurisdiction of outgoing President, Sepp Blatter, and to instil the respect and trust into football’s international governing body. Michel Platini has the attributes to achieve this necessary challenge.
Before talking about why Platini is the ideal successor to Blatter, it is worth noting where the problems began. Football has become a business and there is no honour in playing for your local club any more; money talks and money wins.
When Roman Abramovich took ownership of Chelsea in July 2003, the football world, and the Premier League in particular, changed permanently. Since then, approximately 75% of football clubs in the Premier League have been bought by foreign ownership. Football has sold its soul for success and the game was becoming out of hand financially.
UEFA and Platini brought in the 90-page dossier on financial fair play regulations which capped wages, stopped clubs from folding from crippling debts and, as its title suggests; re-instated fair play into the game. Although the Premier League clubs are sanctioned by these regulations, it is now the European-recognised regulations with the Football League joining the Premier League in the 2012-2013 season.
Corruption and bribery:
Financial fair play is just one of UEFA’s ‘eleven values’ it strives to achieve with grass roots football and respect being a couple of others worth mentioning. These are the missing integrities of FIFA, no matter how much they state otherwise; here is a quote from their website:
“FIFA is firmly committed to the principles of good governance, transparency and zero tolerance towards any wrongdoing – whether it is in sporting contests or any other context of association football. FIFA has adapted its structures and procedures in order to meet the evolving needs of the game’s governance and respond to the increasing complexity of its functions and operations.”
Chuck Blazer brought to light the corruptions into how officials accepted bribes during previous World Cup bids. The world’s leading organisation into football regulations was left in disarray, and the reputation heavily blemished.
FIFA Presidency: My Candidate: Michel Platini
Platini: Footballing History
Michel Platini had a successful career as a footballer who played for Nancy, St. Etienne and Juventus, where he won the European Cup in the 1984-1985 season. He also won the Ballon D’or for three years running, between 1983-1985, scoring 82 goals for Juventus during that time. His international career was impressive, scoring 41 goals in 72 games for France, where he finished third with the national team during the 1986 world cup.
His managerial career was less successful, however, leading the French national team to a first round exit in the 1992 European Championships in Sweden, which was followed by his resignation. He has been a member of the UEFA Executive Committee and European member of the FIFA Executive Committee since 2002. He continued to climb the ranks of UEFA and FIFA football administration and, in 2006, became a chairman of the FIFA Technical and Development Committee, while also being Vice President of the French Football Federation.
In 2007, he beat then President of UEFA, Lennart Johansson, by 27 votes to 23, bringing an end his 16 years in position. In his eight years in the top post of UEFA, football has changed and evolved into the world’s most supported sport, with the money involved in transfers reaching hundreds of millions during each Premier League transfer window. Brining in the FFP (Financial Fair Play) was a necessary enforcement before football clubs began to dissolve; Portsmouth being the highest casualty dropping from the Premier League to League Two.
The eleven values are key to Platini’s success as President, and the first one being ‘football first’ upholds the other values; the main success being grass roots football around Europe with countries such as Belgium and Wales reaching the top 15 in world rankings by developing quality youth players – Gareth Bale being the most expensive transfer in footballing history. The values were introduced to UEFA by Platini in 2009 and the success has been admirable from an organisation that leads the greatest ambassadors in world football. Europe has the strongest competitions at present, with staggering television rights into Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 football.
With his success as UEFA President unquestionable, and given his footballing history, he is the favourite to succeed Blatter at the head of FIFA, to re-commission the values it stands for that have been dismantled by bribery and corruption. Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein, Luis Figo, Şenes Erzik and Ted Howard are all in the running, but Platini’s resume has all the requirements for what is a mammoth task.