Michel Platini was re-elected by acclamation as UEFA president for a third term on Tuesday and immediately told Congress delegates not to believe everything they heard about the confederation’s relationship with FIFA.
The former France international, who has been president since 2007, was handed another four-year term by delegates of the 54-member nations after standing unopposed. UEFA and FIFA have been at loggerheads for years and European football’s ruling body is supporting the three candidates standing against incumbent Sepp Blatter in the FIFA presidential elections in May.
Platini, whose re-election means he continues as a FIFA vice-president for the next four years, said: “Europe’s entire football community loves FIFA dearly. “It is precisely because we love and respect it that we want it to be perfect,” said the 59-year-old. “We also work together on key issues. We at UEFA will always be there on the front line when it comes to defending national associations’ autonomy in the face of external interference.
“Similarly we are always ready and willing to strengthen and coordinate development programmes. It seems we will be working together for another few years so I want to tell you something … do not believe everything you hear,” added Platini.
“We Europeans want a strong FIFA, a FIFA that is respectable and respected, since FIFA is and always will be football’s supreme authority, the sport’s ultimate governing body. “Certain people are perhaps trying to turn us against each other, seeking to divide and rule. They are trying to isolate the supposedly arrogant and selfish Europeans — again, do not believe everything you hear.
“Yes, we know we are in a privileged position. Yes, we know we make mistakes and are not necessarily any better than anyone else.” Looking at Blatter sitting in the front row, Platini said: “However, you should know we are willing to work with you, hand in hand, for the good of world football, for the good of the 209 national associations worldwide and for the good of FIFA.” On the presidential vote to be held at FIFA’s Congress, he added: “Whatever the result of the elections on May 29 we will (still) work together. I am convinced of it”.