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UEFA boss Johansson hits out at Platini's 'sniping'

BERNE, Switzerland, Jan 15 (Reuters) - UEFA president Lennart Johansson has hit out at comments made by presidential election rival Michel Platini, describing the former French international's recent criticisms as 'a form of sniping.'

In a written statement released on Monday, Johansson said Platini had 'questioned my reasons for standing, my fitness for the job and the fact I don't live (near UEFA's headquarters) in Nyon.'

The 77-year-old Johansson has been treated in the past for prostate cancer but has repeatedly insisted that his health problems are now behind him.

'I have not made personal attacks and recently I have had to bite my tongue when I read some of the things being said,' Johansson added. 'I am fit, healthy, looking forward and boosted by the support I have been receiving.'

The Swede said he was also 'worried' by some of Platini's ideas, including the Frenchman's proposal to reduce the number of Champions League places awarded to Europe's top leagues.

'We cannot afford to experiment with competitions such as the UEFA Champions League,' Johansson argued.

Platini's bid to unseat Johansson, who has held the presidency since 1990, will be decided by a vote of UEFA's 52-member associations at the organisation's Congress in Duesseldorf on Jan. 26.