Sepp Blatter has been accused of many things whilst serving his time as the President of FIFA but nobody has called him stupid. With the latest FIFA Presidency elections approaching Blatter has once again pulled a masterstroke in his fight with Mohammed Bin Hammam of Qatar by offering Europe a vision of 2015.
As Michel Platini was being sworn into office as UEFA President for his second term Sepp Blatter took the opportunity to address the gathered UEFA and FIFA officials and profess that he would step down from the Presidency in 2015 if he won the next round of elections this year. Whilst many present would have preferred to see the Swiss dictator step down this year, the thought of Bin Hammam taking power may be enough to force them to vote Blatter in one more time.
Michel Platini is widely expected to challenge for the FIFA Presidency in 2015 having served his time as President of UEFA. Platini would much prefer to be challenging for a vacant role than having an incumbent like Bin Hammam to run against. The Qatari’s wealth both of contacts and in terms of oil make him a formidable adversary in any case but if he had four years of Presidency favours the man would be an immovable object.
An observer only has to note the obduracy of Sepp Blatter’s time in charge and the inability of first a European and then an Asian candidate to overthrow the most powerful man in football. Platini will no doubt be hoping the European FIFA delegates vote for Blatter and with Europe accounting for a quarter of the members up for grabs they have a vital role to play and could decide who is in charge come 2015.
Blatter and Platini were once close allies but in recent times they have drifted further apart. Blatter has been less than supportive of Platini recently and no doubt the former French midfielder has been discouraged by Blatter’s apparent disregard for officiating changes UEFA have made.
For Sepp Blatter to retain power he will need the European votes and it is likely Platini will have a large say. Most Europeans will be concerned over Bin Hammam’s early statements that he wishes to devolve power away from Europe and South America the historical powerhouses of international football. Blatter may well have taken advantage of this concern as he played his final card and helped promise a European President in 2015.