UEFA president Michel Platini says FIFA, soccer's world governing body, will lack credibility as long as current leader Sepp Blatter is president and that Blatter is trying to hold on to power "at all costs.”
Blatter, who has been FIFA’s president since 1998, is running for a fifth term, and Platini says that while he likes Blatter personally, it is time for a change at the top.
"While he remains in place, whether he likes it or not, and whether it is fair or not, FIFA will lack credibility and its image will be tarnished," Platini said to French newspaper L'Equipe. "And so it will lack authority."
The election is set for Friday in Zurich, when the 209 national federations will place their votes. A two-thirds majority is required in the first round of voting to win the election. If that fails, then a simple majority is required.
"He is simply scared of the future, as he has given his life to the institution, to the point where he now identifies himself fully with FIFA," Platini said. "I understand the fear of that emptiness that he (Blatter) must have, it's natural. But if he really loves FIFA, he should have put its interests ahead of his own."
Former Portugal soccer great Luis Figo and Royal Dutch Football Association president Michael van Praag withdrew from the presidential election last week, leaving FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan as the only challenger to Blatter.
"I am firmly convinced that Ali, whom I have known on a personal level for years, would make a great FIFA president. He has everything it takes," Platini said of Prince Ali, saying that he has "great freedom of spirit and independence."
The 79-year-old Blatter is expected to win the election and compared himself to a mountain goat.
"I am a mountain goat that keeps going and going and going, I cannot be stopped, I just keep going," he said.
- Scooby Axson