Uefa president Michel Platini has thrown his weight behind Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al Hussein in his bid to unseat Sepp Blatter as the head of football’s world governing body Fifa.
In an interview on Monday with L’Equipe newspaper, the French midfield legend turned football administrator said that Blatter had lied to him four years ago when saying that his current fourth mandate would be his last.
“He asked us face to face to support him for what would be his last mandate,” said Platini, a former ally of Blatter who has increasingly turned against the Swiss chief.
“I have the disagreeable feeling of having proferred my support on the basis of a lie.
“You have to be capable of handing over the levers of power at the right time and not be guilty of holding on to it at any cost.
“He (Blatter) is not staying on because he has a job to complete or because he still has some big projects to carry out for Fifa. No, he simply is scared of what the future holds for him having consecrated his life to Fifa to the point that he identifies himself totally with it.”
The Jordanian is the sole remaining candidate left in the contest for the Fifa presidency, which will be decided in Zurich on Friday following last week’s withdrawals of Portugal great Luis Figo and Dutch administrator Michael van Praag.
He has garnered support from several quarters, but Blatter is still seen as a strong favourite to win a fifth term despite growing reservations about his way of running one of the most powerful bodies in world sport.
The latest broadside against him came from Argentine legend Diego Maradona who told the Daily Telegraph that a fifth term for Blatter would be “an adsurdity”.
“Under Sepp Blatter, Fifa has become a disgrace and a painful embarrassment to those of us who care about football deeply,” the 1986 World Cup winner said.
The election takes place at the Fifa Congress in Zurich on Friday, with the winner needing a majority from Fifa’s 209 member federations.
Blatter has received strong public backing from nearly every regional confederation except Uefa in Europe.
But the football strongman’s fourth term has been overshadowed by controversy, not least over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, drawing cries of protest from various people