It’s not that I’m Michele Platini’s biggest fan, no. But anything and anyone that’s not Sepp Blatter, that everything about him screams corruption and Hedonism – Every time his face shows up I’m thinking of meetings in dark rooms with envelopes and suitcases burdened with cash switching hands, World Cup venues being played. Well, you know the drill.
According to sources in FIFA and around the big chief of World Football, Blatter is seriously considering handing over the reigns to Platini in two years, half of his recently elected new term. As one put it – … he will hand over the reins two years early instead of enduring a growing chorus of discontent from within FIFA.
Earlier this year, a deal between the two was struck. Blatter was running for another FIFA Presidency term, and Platini delivered the European (UEFA) vote. In exchange, Blatter would hand over his role to Platini when the term is over. Now it seems he can’t wait for it to be over.
The growing criticism from outside and within, the scandals, bribery and Blatter’s proposed reform and changes within FIFA (while he of course, is completely clean as a whistle) go hand in hand with the change of guard. Blatter has been FIFA president since 1998, and won three more re-elections. In the last of them, he was running against himself.
What does this mean for football? Platini does strike as a more honorable fellow. First of all he’s a player, not an outsider. He knows the game, and despite years of being in high offices and the overall smugness that goes along with the position of UEFA big boss, I’m pretty sure Platini will make more decision in favor of the game.
I’m not to keen on his whole ‘expanding competitions and giving weaker teams better chances’ policy – I think (as linked up above) he’s ruined the Champions League group stage, but it has given more exposure and Champions League experience to clubs from smaller leagues. It makes it easier for the continent giants to skip through the group stages with ease, but despite me not agreeing with him, there isn’t anything dishonest or anti-football about that change.
The proposal to make the next Euro (2016, in France) a 24 team tournament is simply a dumb decision. The Euro in 2008 was brilliant. Hopefully 2012 will be the same – European football is the dominant force in the world right now at international level – not South American, except for Uruguay. Expanding the tournament to 24 just ruins it for those watching hoping to enjoy good games. The excruciating tradition of the international qualifiers week is just a preview. We’ll have an entire month in four years of bad matches, praying we’ll be reimbursed in the knockout stages.
Whatever the future holds, I’m glad that Blatter will be leaving. Lets hope he doesn’t do more harm than good in the two years (allegedly) he has left.