Michel Platini running for president of FIFA in 2016 election

By Andrew V. Pestano

ZURICH, Switzerland, July 29 (UPI) -- Michel Platini, president of UEFA, announced Wednesday that he will run for the FIFA presidency in next year's election to replace current head Sepp Blatter.

The FIFA election will take place Feb. 26, 2016. Candidates who choose to stand in the election must submit their intent by the end of October.


"This was a very personal, carefully considered decision, one in which I weighed up the future of football alongside my own future. I was also guided by the esteem, support and encouragement that many of you have shown me," Platini said in a letter sent to the leaders of FIFA's 209 member associations. "There are times in life when you have to take your destiny into your own hands. I am at one of those decisive moments, at a juncture in my life and in events that are shaping the future of FIFA."

FIFA has been embroiled in chaos and controversy since late May after the U.S. Justice Department charged 14 FIFA officials and corporate executives of "racketeering, wire fraud and money-laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with the defendants' participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer."


The scandal led FIFA President Blatter, president since 2007 who won reelection days after the charges were announced, to declare his resignation.

Platini has been the president of UEFA, formally the Union of European Football Associations, since 2007.

"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," Platini wrote.

High-ranking FIFA officials, including Blatter, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke and former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner, have come under legal scrutiny by the FBI and Swiss authorities.

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