John Delaney has expressed support for Michel Platini to succeed Sepp Blatter as President of Fifa with the FAI chief executive saying the Frenchman's name "come to mind; very, very much so," when asked who he thought the most likely contenders are.
Platini, who voted to stage the World Cup in Qatar despite saying theat he never believed the tournament could take place there in summer, had previously expressed an interest in running for the job but announced last year that he would stay on as Uefa president instead, making it clear that he did not believe that he could beat the Swiss who eventually defeated the Jordanian, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein on Friday before announcing his intention to resign just four days later.
Delaney described Friday’s ballot as “a charade” but acknowledged that Uefa members and the large associations in other parts of the world that had wanted to Blatter to go now have to persuade those in Africa and Asia who believed they had benefited directly from the 79 year-old’s policies that they will not lose out if he goes.
“I think there was a blind loyalty to Blatter,” he said on Morning Ireland, “particularly from the Africans and Asians. Some of those countries felt that if Blatter goes they wouldn’t get the funding that they were getting; in other words that the money that they were getting was Blatter’s money not Fifa’s money.
“So the message must come loud and clear from Uefa and from South America, because Brazil and Argentina opposed Blatter as well, that that is football funding that will go to fund football projects in parts of Africa and Asia and that will continue.”
The 47 year-old said that a mix of less wasteful spending by the game’s governing body and better tendering processes for major commercial contracts could also deliver significantly more money for distribution but he admitted that whoever takes over from Blatter will have their work cut out to transform the organisation.
“Of course, we’re not finished yet because the FBI will not stop their investigation just because Blatter has retired or resigned or whatever it might be. So there’s a lot more to happen about what happened in the past and whoever takes the mantle is going to have a really big job to change the culture of Fifa.
“They key really is who become the next president and the cultural change that is required. You can change your leader but if that culture doesn’t change from the top the issues that Fifa has been through will continue.”
Reports in the United States overnight suggest that Blatter is himself now the subject of an investigation by the FBI.