Rome (AFP) – Former Brazilian soccer star-turned-politician Romario on Tuesday described UEFA president Michel Platini as coming “from the same school” as his FIFA counterpart Sepp Blatter.
Now a Brazilian senator with an anti-corruption stance, the 1994 World Cup-winning striker was asked his thoughts on the upcoming leadership election at FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, where Platini is bidding to succeed Blatter.
“FIFA is corrupt and at its heart is a cartel. Some of them have been arrested and others will follow. I hope and pray every day that Blatter will be one of them,” Romario told Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday.
“As for Platini, he’s from the same school as Blatter,” said the 49-year-old former PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona star.
FIFA has been embroiled in a major corruption scandal, but while not suggesting that Platini was involved in illicit affairs, Romario said the Frenchman had moved in the same circles as Blatter.
“Blatter’s at the head of this school of dishonest people who can influence the world of football without necessarily being corrupt,” he said.
“I can’t say that Platini is corrupt. But it is clear that his way of leading UEFA is not the best. Platini is part of this world and there is nothing positive in his management.”
Platini is favorite to take over from Blatter with the election for a new soccer chief scheduled for Feb. 26, 2016.
Other candidates are South Korean magnate and former FIFA vice-President Chung Mong-Joon, Prince Ali from Jordan, Liberia’s Federation chief Musa Bility, and ex-footballers David Nakhid of Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria’s Segun Odegbami.
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