Michel Platini to launch FIFA presidential campaign with global tour

Michel Platini to launch FIFA presidential campaign with global tour

Michel Platini’s campaign for the FIFA presidency will kick off in earnest next month with a global tour that will see him visit countries in five out of the six continents before Christmas.

The 60-year-old Frenchman plans to visit the USA, Thailand, Japan, Myanmar and New Zealand as well as the Asian football awards in New Delhi and a meeting of African football’s leaders in Cairo. He will also have visits within Europe.

Platini, the UEFA president, is expected to launch his manifesto in the second half of October – either in France or in a country outside of Europe. He also plans to appoint a campaign team to work on the FIFA presidential contest to ensure that UEFA officials are not involved.

The reform pressure group New FIFA Now has invited Platini, along with rival candidates Chung Mong-Joon of Korea and Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, to each address a meeting at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on October 28 but that date is likely to clash with plans to travel to Cairo.

Platini will be in Zurich this week for FIFA’s executive committee meeting where members will be given an update on the separate US and Swiss investigations into alleged corruption.

The committee will also decide on a possible new venue and date for the next meeting originally scheduled for Japan in December.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has avoided trips to countries with extradition agreements to the USA following US indictments in May of 18 people on football-related corruption charges.

Platini, meanwhile, is also expected to reject a call by Germany’s former FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger to testify in his libel case against Qatar, according to sources close to the UEFA president.

The 70-year-old has been sued by the Gulf state for repeatedly saying that Qatar is “a cancer on world football” and he has called upon Platini, Blatter, German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach as witnesses for the trial on February 2, just three weeks before the FIFA presidential election in Zurich.

Zwanziger is unlikely to get any support from Platini or Niersbach, and the Frenchman has no obligation to appear in the court case.

In March, Zwanziger claimed that Platini should step down as UEFA president as he has made no secret of the fact he voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.

Also that month, UEFA has distanced itself from Zwanziger after he unsuccessfully filed an ethics violations complaint against Niersbach, his successor at the DFB who ousted him in 2012.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said in March: “Mr Zwanziger was elected by the UEFA congress four years ago and according to our statutes represents the European associations. But we have not seen him around in any of our meetings or committees for the last two years.

“When speaking about good governance, democracy and procedures, part of that should be to participate....and to accept decisions taken in an open, transparent and democratic way and not to get angry and upset.”

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