Michel Platini, France (6/5 odds)
The former Juventus star has been a longtime strongmen for UEFA against FIFA, both as a European representative of the FIFA executive committee since 2002 and as UEFA’s president since 2007. He has played Blatter’s foil for over a decade, championing Prince Ali bin al-Hussein in last Friday’s election after removing himself from consideration. In the wake of Blatter’s victory, he helped organize a potential mass withdrawal by UEFA from the FIFA executive in protest of the result.
He has been at the forefront of UEFA’s attempts to institute Financial Fair Play restrictions on club spending, the 6+5 system that would restrict the number of foreigners on the field at any given time for clubs competing in European competition. He has also challenged foreign ownership of clubs in the past as well as the trend toward scouting for younger and younger players.
Yet some of the rhetoric is contradictory in nature. He has called for a revote on the host of the 2022 World Cup if allegations of fraud and bribery being investigated by the U.S. and Switzerland are proven, but has said nothing about doing the same thing for Russia 2018 if similar accusations prove founded in that case. As an executive committee member, he happily voted for Qatar when the vote was held for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups was held in December 2010. He has railed against the influx of foreign ownership, yet it was Platini who worked with French president Nicolas Sarkozy to broker the deal that saw Qatar Sports Investments engineer a takeover of Paris-Saint Germain.
Can Platini continue to balance his own opaque dealings against his calls for transparency? And, if elected, how sincere will the rhetoric prove to be when the chance comes to put it fully into practice?