There are 54 member associations in UEFA, representing nations with a combined population of 750 million. The number of candidates for UEFA president in March’s election? One.
No young Ted Cruz-style upstart who wants to make a name for himself and put pressure on the establishment. Not even a wacky, token no-hoper candidate – say, a guy from Armenia who wants to make soccer balls hexagonal-shaped and ban goalkeepers.
So for the second successive time, Michel Platini will be elected unopposed and will serve a third term heading European soccer. That’s democracy for you.
Back in 2007, with Blatter’s political might behind him, Platini beat incumbent Lennart Johansson, a 77-year-old Swede who’d led UEFA for 17 years, even though there’s an age limit of 70 for senior UEFA positions. Platini’s currently 59. This buys him another four years, by which time Blatter… probably still will be FIFA president.
Seems like Europe’s members are happy with how things are going under Platini, who, like Sepp Blatter at FIFA, has shrewdly found ways to keep the little guys happy – vital in a one-member, one-vote system. He’s overseen huge Champions League revenues, financial fair play as a (theoretical) boost to smaller clubs, and an expanded European Championships that, crazily, will take place in 13 countries come 2020.
Platini’s latest Eureka moment: white cards that would see players sin-binned for five or ten minutes. Because white, the color associated with pure-driven snow, angels and wholesome milky goodness, is an obvious choice to signal being temporarily sent off for a foul. Where’s the love for purple, Michel?