Michel Platini has claimed his name has been "dragged through the mud" ©Getty Images

British Member of Parliament  Damian Collins has claimed it is “impossible to see” UEFA President Michel Platini replacing outgoing FIFA President Sepp Blatter and called for an independent reform commission to be created to restore credibility to an organisation tainted by corruption scandals.

Former French international Platini was suspended, along with Blatter, for 90 days earlier this month by the FIFA Ethics Committee over an alleged “disloyal payment” of CHF 2 million (£1.3 million/$2.1 million/€1.8 million) which he received from the Swiss.

Platini has claimed he is innocent of any wrongdoing and has vowed to clear his name, while he told French newspaper Le Monde today that "it's shameful to be dragged through the mud like this.”

"I have been suspended for three months, but what annoys me the most is being tarred with the same brush as the others.

"My lawyers are following the FIFA proceedings and will take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if needs be."

The 60-year-old also defended the payment from Blatter, backing the Swiss’ claim that it was a “gentleman's agreement” related to work he had done for the outgoing FIFA President from 1998 to 2002.

While Platini still aims to run for the FIFA Presidency his campaign took another blow on Friday (October 16) when the English Football Association, who had been one of the first Federations to back him, announced they had withdrawn their support.

Today Collins, a member of the House of Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport in the British Parliament, expressed his view that even if Platini is cleared of wrongdoing he cannot foresee him leading football’s governing body in the future and believes radical changes are required.

Damian Collins MP (centre) and Emmanuel Macedo de Medeiros (right) called for radical reforms of FIFA in London today
Damian Collins MP (centre) and Emmanuel Macedo de Medeiros (right) called for radical reforms of FIFA in London today ©Getty Images

“With respect to Michel Platini, it is impossible to see how he could become FIFA President due to his tainted image,” said Collins, a long-time FIFA reformer, at Beyond Sport’s “Beyond the Field of Play” event here.

“A basic separation is needed with sport administrators oversees rules and governance of the game, while a commercial arm look after the financial side of the sport.

“A mix of the two has fed corruption with people becoming regional powerbrokers.

“Sport’s bodies have become led by people who think they are above the law and they act as though they are autonomous states, with Sepp Blatter has seemingly believing he is a kind of pontiff.”

Bahrain's Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa, President of the Asian Football Confederation, is on the verge of announcing his candidacy and is expected to receive support from a large number of UEFA’s 54 member countries and territories. 

Jordan's Prince Ali bin Hussein has already officially submitted his candidature for the role,  as well as former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder David Nakhid.

Former Brazilian footballer Zico and Nigeria's Segun Odegbami have also indicated they will run while former Tottenham Hotspur defender Ramon Vega, currently chief executive of financial services company Vega Swiss Asset Management, has revealed  he could join the race ahead of the October 26 deadline.

The election, currently set to be held on February 26, could be postponed by the FIFA Executive Committee who are set to meet tomorrow in an emergency meeting in Zurich to discuss the issue.

Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Ramon Vega is considering joining the race for the FIFA Presidency
Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Ramon Vega is considering joining the race for the FIFA Presidency ©Getty Images

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has already called for a “credible external Presidential candidate of high integrity” to restore integrity to FIFA.

His view was echoed by Emmanuel Macedo de Medeiros, chief executive of International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) Europe, who criticised the current line-up of candidates and stated more transparency is needed to restore FIFA’s credibility.

“Everyone seem desperate to find a credible candidate, but have you heard any vision of how to face the corruption and find solutions,” he said here today.

“They need to rethink their mind-set, sport cannot operate outside the law or above the law.

“Federations can’t use the autonomy of sport to shelter themselves from bad governance.”

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