Thursday, July 30, 2015

Some Questions for Michel Platini

Michel Platini has confirmed what I have long feared and put himself forward as a candidate for FIFA President at the upcoming election. To me he has always come across as someone who enjoys the trappings of his position. He appears to like the limelight, the stadium box seats, handing out the medals at Euros and Champions League finals, basically everything associated with the game at the very highest echelons.

I wonder what his credentials are in regard to other aspects of the game. Here are some questions I would like him to answer.

1. You have been a member of the FIFA Executive Committee since 2007, during a time in which, as we have known for a long time, corruption has been rampant in the upper levels of the organisation. What steps have you personally taken to identify or prevent FIFA corruption? When did you suddenly become a 'reform' candidate?
2. Why were you a long-time supporter of Sepp Blatter, even though he presided over a corrupt organisation? Why did you refuse to stand against him in 2011 when asked by Mohammad Bin Hammam. Was it because you supported Sepp Blatter or because you were afraid you would lose the election, face and potentially your chance to become FIFA President as some later date?
3. Why did you vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup Finals? Were you unaware that Qatar is very hot in the summer? Why did you then start pushing for a winter World Cup that would cause huge disruption to the European leagues and competitions that you were supposed to represent as President of UEFA? What role did your meetings with French President Nikolas Sarkozy play in your vote for Qatar?
4. You have released a generic candidacy announcement full of the usual platitudes about reform and the type of organisation FIFA should be. When can we expect to see a detailed manifesto?

In particular, what are your thoughts on the following issues?

5. You opposed the introduction of goal-line technology, instead suggesting that fifth and sixth officials should be used. In the light of Ukraine's disallowed goal against England in the 2012 Euros, have you changed your mind?
6. You have called for a 40-team World Cup Finals with eight groups of five teams, suggesting that it will only add three days to the tournament. How would that work given that it will require two extra rounds in the group stages and eight teams would be disadvantaged by having byes on the last playing day for each group?
7. Do you agree with Gianni Infantino that because European nations have won the last three World Cups, Europe deserves an extra World Cup Finals place? If so, how is the performance of the top two or three European teams relevant to whether Europe should have a 13th or 14th representative? Wouldn't it be more logical and objective to look at the performance of the lower ranked European qualifiers to determine whether an additional spot is merited? What should be the make-up of the Finals of all the FIFA tournaments by Confederation?
8. You have been a major force in the introduction of Financial Fair Play. How well has that reduced inequalities, given that a few big European clubs such as Manchester City and Paris St Germain continue to pay exorbitant amounts in transfer fees for some of the world's best players?
9. You have also suggested that the imposition of salary caps may be needed. In the light of this, would you be willing to tell us what your salary is, both as UEFA President and as a member of the FIFA Exco?
10. Given that you support the FIFA membership application of Kosovo, where do you stand on the issue of admitting Gibraltar to FIFA, given that neither has full recognition as a nation from all FIFA members, and recognising that every other territory on the United Nations List of Non_Self-Governing Territories that has applied for FIFA membership has been accepted?
11. As UEFA President, what policies have you introduced to combat matchfixing, doping and discrimination, and how successful have those policies been?
12. How important are the FIFA Rankings and what changes would you advocate to ensure they are an accurate reflection of the relative strength of national football teams?
13. What are your thoughts about international player availability and teams being deducted points after winning matches on the field? How could instances of this be prevented from happening?
14. What laws of the game would you like to see introduced, modified or removed?
15. How much development money should be made available to each FIFA member? How should this funding be distributed? What criteria should be used to determine which projects and member nations should be funded?
16. What should be football's responsibility for ensuring the welfare of its players, coaches, referees, etc. during and upon the completion of their careers? Is it acceptable that many participants go unpaid or end up homeless? What should FIFA do about this?
17. What are the biggest issues facing the members of the Oceania Football Confederation? What will you do to alleviate these issues?
18. With regard to women's football, what will you do to increase or improve tournaments, equality, prize money, development and participation? How many women's matches have you attended since becoming UEFA President in 2007?
19. What is your background in data visualisation? How should FIFA make available and present useful data on the website?
20. How should World Cup hosting rights be determined? What are the most important factors in ensuring a fair and transparent method of choosing the hosts? Which factors are critical in ensuring the selected hosts are suitable?