Platini worried by FA 'vacuum'
Michel Platini rarely says anything without considering the consequences.
As one of football's most influential figures, his comments to the BBC yesterday about the Football Association having no chairman will have been calculated for maximum impact.
He told the BBC that the absence of a chairman was "not good" and when considering who should host the 2018 World Cup, some might ask why they should vote for a national association which doesn't have a leader.
It is therefore clear that despite attempts to move on from the damaging departure of the former FA and World Cup bid chairman Lord Triesman in May, the fall-out is still being felt by the 2018 campaign.
The FA would not be drawn publicly on Platini's comments. An acting chairman is in place in Roger Burden and a process is under way to appoint a permanent successor.
But with the FA board set to scrap the independence rule which requires any chairman to have not held a post in football for a year, it is a process which will take time.
An extraordinary meeting of the FA council must be held in October to sign off that rule change before headhunters can start drawing up a list of candidates.
The FA believes it is better to wait until after the vote for 2018 in December before appointing Triesman's replacement as it could cause further instability to the bid.
Platini clearly does not see it that way.
The World Cup bid team could justifiably argue they have moved on by appointing Geoff Thompson as the campaign's chairman. As a member of the Fifa executive committee, the body which will decide the race for 2018, Thompson has a crucial role to play.
There is also a school of thought that says Triesman's style - he was often described as high handed by critics - and lack of contacts in world football were holding England back.
Not as far as Platini is concerned.
His comments came as no surprise to England's bid team as he had told them he was uncomfortable with the vacuum at the top of English football during the World Cup in South Africa.
In a world where protocol and status count for so much, there is no question it is seen as a black mark against the oldest and, in some people's eyes, most prestigious national football association.
Perhaps more significantly it gives England's rivals another stick with which to beat them -and in a tight contest, anything which hands an advantage to Russia or Spain-Portugal must be seen as a problem.
But Platini probably has a far wider agenda than simply the battle for 2018. He and Triesman were close and he spoke yesterday of his sadness at the Labour peer's footballing downfall.
They shared a similar world view and, crucially, Platini saw Triesman as a strong counter-balance to the power and financial muscle of the Premier League clubs.
Triesman made it clear he was prepared to rock the boat when he delivered his speech about debts in football almost two years ago setting the FA on yet another collision course with the League.
Platini may have got what he wanted with new financial fair play regulations requiring all clubs in European competitions to break even by 2013, but the former French captain now has no one in the FA to stand up to the clubs.
As he said in his interview with the BBC, he cannot have good relations with anyone at the FA because he doesn't know who to ring, a hugely embarrassing comment for the association. Despite that, the FA insists it will not make them accelerate the process for finding a new chairman.
They now set on a slow course of backtracking on the one real change of significance recommended by Lord Terry Burns in his structural review of the FA. But the 2018 World Cup bid is likely to bring all this to a head whether England win or not.
Lose in December and the argument for reform of an organisation widely viewed as failing will become deafening - it would cap an annus horribilis for the FA following on from Triesman's exit, the sudden resignation of Ian Watmore as chief executive after nine months, sponsorship problems and, of course, the humiliation of Fabio Capello's England in South Africa.
Win and the prospect of hosting such a big event will make its own case for reform.
Despite being seen as a supporter of England's 2018 bid, Platini knows all this and by making his comments now he is looking to make a wider point that he is not happy with the latest turn of events at the FA.
He may still vote for England in December and for a World Cup bound for Europe having the Uefa president on side is a major coup. But like every single member of the 24 man Fifa executive, he is making it clear he wants something in return.
That something is a strong FA.