Blatter must quit, Platini urges
Uefa president says a new mandate for the Fifa chief – under fire over corruption claims in Qatar’s World Cup bid – would not be welcome
Uefa president Michel Platini withdrew his support from Fifa counterpart Sepp Blatter on Thursday, plunging world soccer into open warfare.
"I am supporting him no longer, it's finished," said Platini. "He knows it, I told him. I think Fifa needs a breath of fresh air."
Platini, who himself had to come out last week and deny he had been pressured by former French president Nicolas Sarkozy to vote for Qatar in the controversial and scandal-tainted bid race for the 2022 World Cup, said he agreed with his fellow Uefa members that it was time for 78-year-old Blatter, who has been in power since 1998, to call it a day when his mandate ends next year.
"I share the European position," said 58-year-old Platini. "A new mandate for him would not be good for football. But he is a person one has to respect and he has all my respect."
Blatter, who has been under pressure in the Qatar row, told the Fifa congress in Sao Paulo on Wednesday that he was ready for a new mandate despite having said in 2011 he would not seek re-election for a fifth term.
"I'm ready to accompany you in the future," he said, though, his announcement was greeted by some boos.
Platini, who was praised in 1998 for his organisation of the World Cup hosted by France, indicated that he and his members had not been happy with the congress.
Several of Platini's colleagues openly confronted Blatter on Tuesday when he addressed their association telling him that his claims the British media's motivation in investigating the Qatar bid were "racist" were without foundation.
The Fifa leader was helped by a congress vote not to consider age- and term-limits for officials. He later denied having any designs on a life-time presidency. "Well it wasn't the Europeans who blocked the reforms, it was clear who voted against the age limit," said Platini.
However, Platini still won't commit himself to a run for the Fifa presidency. At present there is just one candidate - the former Fifa deputy secretary-general Jerome Champagne.
Meanwhile, a Japanese former member of Fifa's executive committee has said most senior figures in the scandal-hit organisation want the truth over claims of corruption in awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Junji Ogura, who was on the top committee of world football's governing body from 2002 to 2011, said detailed allegations over the payment of huge bribes are a good thing. "There are a lot of people in the executive committee who feel that way, and it's why things are being investigated," said Ogura, the Japan Football Association's honorary president.
"Maybe we feel that way because Japan doesn't operate like that. We're entitled to find out what really went on because it's what's right," he said.
Britain's The Sunday Times has published a series of reports alleging that millions of dollars in backhanders were paid to help Qatar secure soccer's showpiece.
Five of Fifa's six biggest commercial partners - Adidas, Sony, Visa, Coca-Cola and Hyundai - have demanded an investigation of claims that Qatari official Mohamed bin Hammam paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure Qatar's victory.