The CEO of Adidas-Group, the world's second-biggest sporting-goods maker and a FIFA sponsor, says he believe that UEFA president Michel Platini is best choice to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA's president.
Blatter announced he would step down on June 2 days after winning a fifth four-year term as head of world football's governing body and about a week after U.S. and Swiss federal investigations announced they indicted and are investigating allegations of bribery, racketeering and money laundering by some former and current FIFA officials.
"For me, Platini is the most suitable candidate. He leads UEFA, with the best club teams worldwide and the strongest club competition, the Champions League," Herbert Hainer told German weekly Focus. "He has done a really good job in his two terms in office."
Platini had asked Blatter to resign after the criminal indictments were announced, but at the time Blatter refused. Platini has not made any announcement on whether he will seek the FIFA presidency.
Blatter, 79, is reportedly under investigation for bribery and racketeering by several U.S. federal agencies and accused of corruption after being linked to officials taking bribes in efforts to secure lucrative broadcast rights and hosting votes for international tournaments.
Hainer said he could have never imagined the level of corruption at FIFA and has spoken with FIFA officials in recent weeks because of the negative headlines.
"FIFA must be positioned in such a way that corruption and bribery can never again be possible," Hainer told Focus. "I can assure you that everyone in Zurich has understood that."
Hainer, who will be the CEO of Adidas AG until March 2017, says FIFA “must be reset as quickly as possible in terms of transparency.”
“The past few months have damaged everyone: football, the sponsors, but above all FIFA,” Hainer said.
- Scooby Axson