President of European football governing body Uefa, Michel Platini, has confirmed his candidacy for the Fifa presidency polls slated for February 2016.
The ex-France international and former Juventus midfielder, 60, has reportedly received backings from four of Fifa’s six continental confederations.
Sepp Blatter’s successor will be elected at a special congress in Zurich on 26 February, following the Swiss’ announcement of his departure from world football’s governing body on 2 June in the wake of corruption crisis.
Platini, who has been head of Uefa since 2007 and was elected unopposed for a third term in March, says Fifa needs to “turn over a new leaf.”
In a letter sent to the presidents and general secretaries of the 209 member associations of Fifa, Platini said he was standing as a candidate “with enthusiasm and conviction, but also with the humility of someone who knows that he cannot succeed on his own.
“There are times in life when you have to take your destiny into your own hands,” the former attacking midfielder, who helped France win the European Championship in 1984, said. “I am at one of those decisive moments, at a juncture in my life and in events that are shaping the future of Fifa.
“During this last half-century or so, Fifa has only had two presidents. This extreme stability is something of a paradox in a world that has experienced radical upheavals and in a sport that has undergone considerable economic change.
“However, recent events force the supreme governing body of world football to turn over a new leaf and rethink its governance.”
Blatter has occupied football’s highest position since 1998 and was re-elected for a fifth term on 29 May, but announced he will stand down four days later in the wake of the biggest scandal in the history of world football.
Seven high-ranking football officials were arrested at at a five-star hotel in Zurich as part of a U.S. investigation into allegations of fraud at football’s governing level Fifa. Two other ex-Fifa executives were also indicted in the U.S. investigation, including five marketing associates.
A separate probe of Fifa’s decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar by Swiss authorities is also ongoing.
Uefa has recorded several major developments under Platini’s guide, including the increase from 16 to 24 of participating teams in next year’s European Championship and the hosting of the 2020 tournament in 13 cities across as many countries.
But he will have to address why he had to vote for a Qatar World Cup- as a Fifa executive committee member- despite Fifa’s own technical report flagging up concerns about the extreme heat in the Gulf region.
“I am counting on your support and our common love of football so that, together, we can give the tens of millions of football fans the Fifa that they want: a Fifa that is exemplary, united and shows solidarity, a Fifa that is respected, liked and of the people,” the letter continued.
“As the president of Uefa, I have brought Europe together on a unifying path. I gave all the national associations – big and small – the place they deserved. Now, I aspire to do the same at world level, to offer all national associations a common cause.
Platini won three Ballon d’Or titles in the mid 1980s as well as a European Cup, Cup winners’ Cup and Super Cup with Juve. He also won titles in France and Italy all in his playing days as an attacking midfielder.
Candidates have until 26 October to declare their interests.
Head of Liberia FA, Musa Bility, has already declared his candidacy. Former Brazilian international Zico and ex-France winger David Ginola are other outsiders who have also said they will contest for Fifa presidency.
South Korea’s Chung Ming-joon- a former Fifa vice-president- is expected to run for the position. Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who was beaten by Blatter in May’s congress, is also likely to confirm his candidacy.