Platini won't challenge Blatter
French football legend Michel Platini said Thursday he would concentrate on a new term as head of Europe's governing body instead of challenging Blatter for FIFA's presidency.
"This is not the time, it is not my time. Not yet," Platini, 59, told reporters.
"I thought long and hard, but never managed to convince myself during these months of reflection that I had to go to FIFA for these elections. It's as simple as that. Once again, I have chosen to follow my heart. I have chosen football. I have chosen passion."
German Football Association (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach said he found Platini's decision "understandable."
"The alternative would have been an exhausting, long election campaign which would have caused a lot of agitation in the football world," Niersbach added.
Good for football?
Platini's decision means Blatter, 78, will likely secure a fifth four-year term at the helm of FIFA in an election that is due to take place next May. Platini did say, however, that he told Blatter personally that he thinks FIFA "needs a breath of fresh air" and that he should step down.
"My debate was UEFA or FIFA. I still have respect for Blatter but he should give up his place," he said.
Blatter announced in June that he would run for another term despite initially planning to step down in 2015. The news was met by harsh opposition from European football chiefs.
Blatter's announcement also cameamid corruption allegations against the organization, most recently over Qatar's nomination as 2022 hosts.
The only candidate to face Blatter so far is former FIFA deputy secretary general, Jerome Champagne. However, he has acknowledged that he has little chance of beating Blatter.
hc/tj (AFP, dpa)