English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has backed Michel Platini to restore FIFA’s tarnished reputation after the Frenchman on Wednesday declared he will run for the presidency of world football’s governing body.
Platini, currently president of European football’s governing body UEFA, wants to rebuild FIFA’s credibility after the corruption crisis which engulfed the organisation and led to Sepp Blatter announcing he will quit as president.
Dyke was one of the loudest critics of the controversial FIFA regime and he was quick to throw his weight behind Platini, who is widely regarded as the most likely successor to Blatter.
“We support Michel Platini’s candidacy. We have a good relationship with him and hope he can gain the necessary global backing to lead a new FIFA during the most difficult period in its history,” Dyke said.
“While we have yet to see Mr Platini’s manifesto, we believe he will fully support an ongoing reform process.
“Mr Platini has been supportive of English football in recent years, not least when he visited St. George’s Park last autumn and we spoke at length about the game in this country, our strong leagues, great clubs and fantastic fans.
“We continue to have discussions with him on our concerns about dwindling opportunities for homegrown players – a concern he shares.”
While Dyke is supportive of Platini, he also warned the 60-year-old former France and Juventus star that he would face a challenging task to change FIFA if he wins the election.
Like Blatter, Platini has also championed Qatar’s 2022 World Cup despite the controversy surrounding the bid and the decision to play the tournament in the winter.
“We understand there will be a number of candidates, which should result in a strong and healthy debate,” Dyke said.
“We should not underestimate how challenging it will be for anyone to lead an organisation that has been so tainted. The whole structure of FIFA must be reviewed and fundamentally changed.
“With FA vice-chairman David Gill newly-appointed to the FIFA executive committee and the level of worldwide scrutiny on the reform process, the opportunity is there to bring about positive change.”