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Platini: I am no longer backing Blatter

ESPN staff
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Michel Platini said he supported Sepp Blatter in 1998 © PA Photos
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UEFA president Michel Platini says he is no longer supporting Sepp Blatter as European football steps up its bid to prevent the embattled FIFA president from standing for a fifth term.

Blatter, who has run world football's governing body since 1998, had promised to stand down when his fourth term ends in 2015, but later changed his mind and said he would like to serve another spell in the presidency.

English FA chairman Greg Dyke and his Netherlands counterpart Michael van Praag called on Blatter to stand aside at a UEFA summit on Tuesday - remarks he described as "the most disrespectful thing I have experienced in my entire life."

And Platini told AFP, in quotes reported by L'Equipe: "I was very proud of the Europeans. I am supporting Sepp Blatter no longer. It's finished.

"I have known him for a long time, I like him, but I'm not favourable to him having another term.

"I supported him in 1998, but I do not support him in 2014. I have told him that. I think Fifa needs a breath of fresh air."

European football powerbrokers responded angrily when Blatter claimed racism was the reason for allegations of corruption in FIFA's decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

But delegates at the FIFA congress later voted against age and term limits on the presidency, raising the prospect that the 78-year-old Swiss could remain in charge for as long as he wanted.

Blatter is a protege of former president Joao Havelange, who has been accused of corruption, while former France captain and manager Platini has been UEFA president for the last seven years.

Platini could stand against Blatter for the presidency, saying he would make a decision by the time the draw for the Champions League takes place in late August.

He said: "It is an option, but it is not because of Blatter that Michel Platini would stand and not because of Sepp Blatter that Michel Platini would not appear. My only concern is what I want to do. I am almost 60 years and I need to know what I want.

"In my life, I wanted to be a footballer, and it went well. I was asked to coach, and to be president of the organising committee of the 1998 World Cup, and I liked it. Then I became a member of the FIFA executive committee. Now I am very happy to be at UEFA. I am loved by national associations. But FIFA is something important."

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