Michel Platini has confirmed he won't stand against Sepp Blatter during the 2015 FIFA presidency elections. The UEFA president—who previously admitted via Sky Sports he won't support Blatter's attempts to gain his fifth consecutive election win—is looking to maintain his current role.
BBC Sport tweeted Platini's intentions:
Michel Platini tells Uefa delegates he wants to continue as president of Uefa and won't stand against Sepp Blatter for the Fifa presidency— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 28, 2014
FIFA executive committee member Michel D'Hooghe believes Platini's decision is a useful one for both organisations and should limit conflict between the two. D'Hooghe summarised his thoughts after Platini addressed a delegation of 54 European football associations in Monte Carlo, ahead of Thursday's Champions League draw.
"It was a very positive message - he said he would like to continue as UEFA president and I am pleased that it means that this time there will be no battle between FIFA and UEFA," said D'Hooghe, per Richard Conway of BBC Sport.
Platini's unwillingness to go head-to-head with Blatter means FIFA deputy secretary Jerome Champagne remains the only other candidate.
Blatter stated his "mission is not finished" before revealing he will once again look to oversee football's governing body. Opinion of the controversial figure continues to split FIFA delegates, the press and public, but he should be considered the major favourite to retain his presidency when support is counted next year.
Much like the long-time FIFA overseer, Platini wishes to continue progressing his current work. Bryan Swanson of Sky Sports indicates this should be seen as the Frenchman's willingness to finish what he has started with UEFA, and not as an attempt to spite Blatter's tenure:
We're told Michel Platini's message to European football chiefs: "I'm pro-UEFA - not anti-FIFA."— Bryan Swanson (@skysports_bryan) August 28, 2014
Platini took over the European organisation's leading role in January 2007. Like Blatter, many of his supported policies are open to criticism due to their ability to dramatically change the game. He continues to tinker with formats and financial structures to ensure football maximises its profitability.
Most notably, he was a key figure in expanding Euro 2016 to a 24-team lineup, adding eight nations to an already packed schedule.
Henry Winter of The Telegraph calls this schedule a "television-shaped, politically driven" campaign that will devalue the importance of each fixture at the major tournament. Platini looks to capitalise on the commercial aspect of the game with such a plan, as he did by stretching the Champions League knockout stages over additional weeks to ensure more games receive prime television coverage.
Platini has also been forced to defend plans to stage Euro 2020 across Europe, rather than stick to single or dual-nation hosts. Such an idea could limit the atmosphere of the major tournament, while additional teams ensure the gap between favourites and underdogs will grow considerably.
Would Michel Platini beat Sepp Blatter in the FIFA presidential elections if he ran for the position?
Finances remain at the heart of many of Platini's key ideas. He implemented UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules to begin tracking the turnover of clubs competing in European competition from 2011-12. A failure to break even now sees costly fines, transfer caps and squad limits placed over offenders, as Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain recently found out.
Another of Platini's beliefs may have aided the recent punishment of Barcelona. He called the acquisition of players under the age of 18 "child trafficking," claiming that paying a youngster to "kick a ball is not that different from paying a child to work on a production line in a factory," per the New York Times.
Barca were recently punished for the unlawful signing of 10 minors, which saw FIFA impose a year-long transfer ban on the Catalan club, per BBC Sport.
Platini also supports the use of local players and believes the "6+5" rule should be utilised in Europe. This would see a minimum of six "homegrown" players lineup alongside five foreign stars, limiting the influence of the latter in divisions such as the Premier League, La Liga and the Bundesliga.
The implementation of this could significantly lower interest in each of the top leagues, perhaps contrasting Platini's plans to monetise football to its maximum capability.
Blatter will certainly breathe a sigh of relief knowing he isn't to face such a high-profile candidate when presidency elections begin. Platini, like the FIFA leader, appears committed to leaving a considerable mark on the sport while his time in office runs.