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Sep 14, 2011

Blatter considering stepping down

Sepp Blatter is seriously considering a motion to quit as FIFA president in two years rather than serve his full term in office, according to ESPNsoccernet sources.

• Bin Hammam: FIFA won't act against Europeans

The future of Blatter is back on the agenda as ESPNsoccernet has been informed by well placed international sources that the rumour is gathering pace that Platini will become FIFA Presidency will happen in two rather than the full four year term.

Pressure is certainly going to be applied to Blatter with landmark meetings over the next few weeks to question again the validity of Blatter's leadership of world football.

The rumours that a clandestine deal is believed to have been struck between Blatter and current UEFA chief Platini, whereby the incumbent boss of the sport's governing body will hand over the reins two years early instead of enduring a growing chorus of discontent from within FIFA, provoked an immediate response from Blatter himself with hours of ESPNsoccernet breaking the news of the alleged plan.

Blatter wrote on his official Twitter page: ''The existence of a reported "deal" between me and Michel Platini for the FIFA Presidency is pure nonsense. The suggestion that I intend to stop my four-year mandate before its end is simply ridiculous.''

The fact that Blatter has been moved to nip in the bud a rumour that is gathering pace within the corridors of power in Europe, might not quite be enough to make the rumour go away.

Indeed, an inside source told ESPNsoccernet: "There is now widespread conjecture within the European game that Blatter won't be able to survive for the full four-year term, which is already designated his last term before handing over to Platini.

"The suggestion is that some sort of deal is being mooted whereby Blatter goes in two years and Platini takes over. With so much focus on the governance of FIFA, and so many changes being proposed, it would make sense for this change to happen and it would be widely welcomed.

"Meetings are taking place involving FIFA and UEFA in Cyprus on the 25th [of September] and much will become clear in which direction both FIFA and UEFA are going, and this could spark more debate about the futures of Blatter and Platini.

"These are the rumours that are now circulating within Europe's corridors of power. Should Blatter step down early, there is only one creditable candidate to take his place, and that is Platini."

Earlier this year, ESPNsoccernet broke the news of a deal between Blatter and Platini, involving the Frenchman delivering the European vote for Blatter in the most recent FIFA presidential election, in exchange for Blatter handing over power after this term had concluded. It now seems two of the most powerful men in world football have sought to bring this agenda forward.

Meanwhile, Alberto Colombo, head of the European Leagues, refused to be drawn on the issue and avoided any speculation on talk of a deal being done behind closed doors.

"We are following whatever is happening in Europe very closely as there is much talk of changes and much debate about the governance of the game," Colombo said. "But we are not in a position to answer questions about the future of Sepp Blatter or Michel Platini."

The European Leagues are set to meet in Poland next Tuesday where they will discuss policy and how they will act in conjunction with European clubs.

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