COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (AP) — Michel Platini has distanced himself from FIFA's choice of World Cup draw procedure, which appeared to give his native France a better chance in next year's tournament in Brazil.
The UEFA president told reporters Wednesday that he offered to leave the room Monday during talks among confederation leaders about a proposal he said came from FIFA itself.
"I said I would go out of the meeting. They said, 'No, there is one proposal and everybody will accept,'" Platini said before a session of the FIFA ruling board.
A lottery will now decide which unseeded European team goes into Pot 2 — sure to face two high-ranked opponents from Europe and South America.
France, the lowest-ranked European qualifier, had been the expected automatic choice because of a precedent set at the 2006 World Cup draw.
Instead, FIFA announced Tuesday that all nine unseeded Europeans would be in the lottery which opens Friday's draw ceremony. The decision increases France's chance of landing in a less tough group.
"I am not the only Frenchman in FIFA," said Platini, who is a vice president of football's world governing body.
The decision surprised officials in the Netherlands, who expected to be securely in all-European Pot 4. Those teams are sure to face only one, seeded opponent from the strong UEFA and Conmebol confederations.