UEFA on Thursday refused to name a new leader after FIFA banned its president Michel Platini from all football activity for 90 days.
In a move that could open conflict between the European confederation and the world body, UEFA’s executive said it “saw no need” to name a temporary president.
Platini himself slammed the “farcical” FIFA ban against him and signalled that he would pursue his campaign for the leadership of the world football body.
UEFA’s executive expressed “full confidence” in the 60-year-old French football legend.
The 54-member European body will meet at its Nyon headquarters next Thursday to discuss the crisis after Platini was named in a Swiss criminal investigation of FIFA leader Sepp Blatter.
“The UEFA executive committee saw no need, at this moment in time” to invoke UEFA statutes so that the senior vice president steps in to take over.
Some saw the statement as an act of defiance towards the FIFA sanction.
But a source close to the UEFA leadership said it is “more to say that the UEFA administration, with its executive committee, will keep working during the suspension of the president and that the executive committee has confidence in the appeal that will be made.”
The UEFA statement said Platini “will immediately take all necessary steps to appeal the decision of the FIFA ethics committee to clear his name”.
The committee called for “a very rapid final decision” in the case.
Platini said he felt “staunch defiance” over the suspension from all involvement in international football.
“I reject all the allegations that have been made against me,” he said of the suspension ordered by FIFA’s ethics committee.
He condemned “the farcical nature of these events”.
“More than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies,” he said.
Swiss prosecutors are investigating Blatter for criminal mismanagement. Platini has been named in the inquiry over a two million dollar (1.8 million euros) payment from the world body in 2011.
Platini said he had received messages of support from many national associations “encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests”.
“Nothing will make me give up on that commitment,” he added.
But some European federations have called on him to clear up all questions raised in the case.
German football federation president Wolfgang Niersbach said on Thursday that Platini must consider whether his FIFA candidacy can be “maintained” following his suspension.
The English FA had given strong support to Platini but FA chairman Greg Dyke said: “Platini claims it’s a fix, but if they decide he has behaved improperly we will not support him and I’m sure I would have the backing of the FA board on that.”