Football: Platini’s big day

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UEFA’s president Michel Platini is about to show his hand in Monte Carlo, reports Sky Sports News Chief News Reporter Bryan Swanson.
It is two months since Platini declared that FIFA needs a “new breath of fresh air.”
Many European football officials have had enough and want Sepp Blatter to retire from the game’s top job.
Platini will announce his intentions to European associations inside one of Monaco’s luxury hotels on Thursday morning.
He will then answer questions about his decision at a news conference before walking down the red carpet for the Champions League draw.
Senior figures in European football have told Sky Sports News HQ, privately, they do not expect Platini to challenge Blatter.
The final vote in next year’s FIFA election could be closer than expected but they believe he has reluctantly accepted that Blatter will win and will not want to be seen to lose.
But only Platini and his closest advisors know the exact content of his eagerly-anticipated speech.
Blatter faced a hostile reception when he met Platini and other critics, including FA chairman Greg Dyke, on the eve of FIFA’s annual congress in São Paulo in June before the World Cup.
UEFA officials were upset that Blatter had, in their opinion, gone against his word by indicating that he would stand for a fourth term as FIFA president.
Blatter was so upset by their reaction he later remarked: “This was the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.”
But Europe accounts for 53 eligible votes out of 209 associations, only just over a quarter of world football.
Europe alone cannot decide who is president of world football’s governing body and therein lies their ultimate frustration.
There is another key question.
Is FIFA’s top position as interesting as the UEFA presidency?
It is more political, with more travelling and much more baggage, but FIFA has only one showpiece tournament every four years compared to UEFA’s yearly Champions League.
The 2016 European Championship will be staged in Platini’s native France and UEFA have revamped their format for Euro 2020.
If Platini does not stand, will Europe propose another candidate?
Michael van Praag, president of the Netherlands Football Association, is widely tipped as a potential candidate and he said two months ago: “There are very few people who still take FIFA seriously and whatever way you want to cut and dice it, Blatter is responsible in the end.”
UEFA executive committee member David Gill, the former Manchester United chief executive, gave rare, lengthy, interviews in June and expressed his desire for change at FIFA.
After many dazzling displays on the pitch, Platini is about to make the biggest decision of his career in football politics.

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