PARIS: Michel Platini should have waited longer before running for the UEFA presidency, Franz Beckenbauer told French sports newspaper L’Equipe on Wednesday.
“At 51 years old (Platini) is often impatient ... He should allow Lennart to stay in charge until the end of another mandate, and then he can succeed him,” said Beckenbauer, adding that he was throwing his weight behind incumbent Lennart Johansson.
Beckenbauer, who captained and then coached West Germany to World Cup success in 1974 and 1990, had been a front-runner with Platini but ruled himself out when Johansson decided to stand.
He praised Platini, who led France to the 1984 European title, as “a young challenger who was a great player”.
But Beckenbauer also criticised the Frenchman’s campaign, which has targeted 77-year-old Swede Johansson because of his age, saying it was “not very clever”.
He reserved his highest praise for Johansson’s attitude during the leadership campaign.
“I find him very elegant and smart, not rising to the attacks and provocations against him.”
Beckenbauer also said he was not tempted to run for the position of UEFA president in the future.
“No, that’s now in the past. I don’t know what is going to happen in four or eight years’ time. I don’t even know if I will still be alive.”
The 61-year-old, who could still win a place on the executive committee of world governing body FIFA, along with Platini, also said executive positions in UEFA and FIFA did not always have to be filled by ex-footballers.
“I do not think it is a necessity (but) if an ex-player has the abilities, then why not?” – Reuters