Michel Platini: Uefa could boycott World Cup if Sepp Blatter stays Fifa president

• Uefa president confident members will vote for Prince Ali bin al-Hussein
• ‘There have been too many scandals that have shaken the world of football’
• David Gill won’t take up vice-president post if Blatter wins

Uefa’s president, Michel Platini, has refused to rule out European teams boycotting the World Cup if Sepp Blatter remains as Fifa president.

After a meeting to address the crisis facing Fifa, Platini called on Blatter to step down and said he had convinced most of Uefa’s 53 members to back the challenger, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein.

Platini, who helped Blatter win his first Fifa election in 1998, said this week’s events proved it was time to reform Fifa.

“Enough is enough. Too much is too much. In terms of our image it’s not good at all. I am the first one to be disgusted by this. I am saying this with sadness, with tears in my eyes. There have been too many scandals that have shaken the world of football.”

He ruled out boycotting Friday’s congress but said that if Blatter won a fifth term then all options remained open, including turning its back on the Fifa executive committee or even refusing to play in the World Cup.

David Gill, the former Manchester United chief executive who was due to take up a vice presidency on the Fifa executive committee on Friday, has said he will not take up the position if Blatter wins.

The Uefa and FA board member received applause when he said he would not take up the seat he was due to inherit from Jim Boyce.

“I was delighted when Uefa voted me in. What’s changed my mind? Seismic events yesterday. Joining [Fifa] would be futile and that would not be right for me,” Gill told Sky News.

“I can categorically state that in Prince Ali we have a candidate. It would be a new Fifa. There’s no way the president, who has worked for Fifa for many, many years, can ignore [corruption allegations]. He has to move on. If I was in that situation I would. I can’t see how that cannot be the right decision.

“For President Blatter not to resign based on what happened yesterday is indicative of the problem. He disagrees and that’s his prerogative.”

But Gill said he it would be wrong to make the fans suffer with a World Cup boycott. “All the options will be looked at but ultimately it’s for the fans. The fans like the World Cup, the fans like the big games so that’s to me a measure of last resort and I don’t think we will get there.

“We should ensure the World Cup goes on. We had a great World Cup last summer – apart from for England – and we need to move on so let’s see what other avenues are open. Why should the fans and the players suffer because of maladministration – I don’t think they should.”

The Dutch FA president, Michael van Praag, who stood as a challenger to Blatter but pulled out before the seven dramatic arrests that plunged Fifa into renewed crisis on Tuesday, said Ali had told him that he believed he had at least 60 supporters outside Europe.

Of the 209 member associations, Blatter or Ali need at least two-thirds of the votes in the first round. A simple majority would suffice in further rounds.

Platini said he told Blatter to his face to quit at a crisis meeting at Fifa HQ convened by the president and attended by representatives of all six confederations. The pair then met afterwards and Platini again told him to stand down.

“I told him: ‘Listen Sepp, we’re being very criticised.’ He said: ‘Not as much as I am.’ The press is against him, the press in his own country is against him,” said Platini. “That is not easy for those close to him. But I did find him ready to fight and ready to win another election.”

Most of Uefa’s members will back Ali in Friday’s election though some, including Russia and Spain, will remain staunch backers of the incumbent.


Owen Gibson in Zurich

The GuardianTramp

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