Michel Platini was on re-elected Tuesday as UEFA president, and he then pledged his love for FIFA despite supporting all three candidates opposing Sepp Blatter in the world governing body’s own presidential election.
Platini ran unopposed to extend his reign, which started in 2007, and was voted in by acclamation by the leaders of UEFA’s 54 member federations to serve four more years.
“This means more to me than you could possible imagine,” Platini said in an acceptance speech in French.
Platini also retained his position as a FIFA vice president through 2019.
Though the former France great opted not to stand against Blatter in the FIFA election on May 29, UEFA backs all three other candidates.
“We love FIFA deeply,” Platini said, watched by Blatter sitting at the front of the congress hall. “It is entirely because we love and respect FIFA that we want it to be perfect.
“We Europeans want a strong FIFA, a FIFA that is respectable and respected,” Platini added, before taking an apparent jibe at his onetime mentor.
Platini said some people wanted to isolate UEFA as “arrogant and selfish.”
“Certain people are perhaps trying to turn us against each other, seeking to divide and rule,” Platini said in comments directed to other confederation leaders attending as UEFA guests. “Don’t believe everything you hear. We know that we make mistakes and are not necessarily any better than anyone else.”
Platini pledged that Europe would continue to work with FIFA and other continents “whatever the result on the 29th of May.”
FIFA presidential candidates Michael van Praag of the Netherlands, Luis Figo of Portugal and Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan were scheduled to give campaign speeches to delegates later Tuesday.
Blatter, who was expected to stay and watch his rivals, declined UEFA’s invitation to also speak on stage. He has also rejected requests from British and Dutch broadcasters to take part in a separate debate.