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Platini French legendary footballer ducks FIFA talk for UEFA achievements

Platini also praised his controversial decision to increase the number of teams at the European championship to 24 and declared UEFA's five-referee system, developed as an alternative to goal-line technology, a great success.

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UEFA President Michel Platini attends a news conference after the draw for the 2015/2016 UEFA Europa League soccer competition at Monaco's Grimaldi Forum in Monte Carlo, Monaco August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard play UEFA President Michel Platini attends a news conference after the draw for the 2015/2016 UEFA Europa League soccer competition at Monaco's Grimaldi Forum in Monte Carlo, Monaco August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Michel Platini declined to discuss his bid for the FIFA presidency on Friday, preferring instead to deliver a glowing assessment of his own performance in charge of European soccer's governing body UEFA.

In a self-congratulatory news conference, Platini and his secretary general Gianni Infantino proclaimed UEFA as pioneers in the fight against racism, leaders in tackling match-fixing and said they had brought financial sanity to European football.

Platini also praised his controversial decision to increase the number of teams at the European championship to 24 and declared UEFA's five-referee system, developed as an alternative to goal-line technology, a great success.

The Frenchman is seen as the front-runner in the race to replace outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who will relinquish his mandate at the helm of world soccer's governing body at a Feb. 26 election in Zurich.

Platini, who has been UEFA president since 2007, has not yet talked about his plans for the FIFA presidency and again frustrated reporters who expected to discuss them for the first time on Friday.

Instead, Platini and Infantino went through a re-run of what they considered some of UEFA's most impressive achievements.

Infantino proudly talked of how UEFA's break-even policy known as Financial Fair Play had cut the losses made by Europe's first division clubs from 1.7 billion euros ($1.90 billion) in 2011 to 487 million in the most recent financial year.

"We have been able to reduce wage inflation, lead European club football into operational profits and restore sanity to football," he said.

Infantino added that the total of unpaid bills had dropped from 57 million euros in 2011 to 5.5 million, which he described as "quite impressive."

He said UEFA had also led the way in the fight against racism and discrimination. "UEFA was the first football body to give officials guidelines... even giving the referee power to abandon the match," noted Infantino.

UEFA is also the "football organisation which is a leader in the fight against match-fixing," he said.

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