Michel Platini fights at FIFA against his 8-year ban
FIFA’s ethics committee found Platini guilty of accepting gifts, conflicts of interest and breaching loyalty and general conduct rules
Suspended UEFA President Michel Platini spent eight hours in an appeal case at FIFA headquarters on Monday, fighting his eight-year ban over a $2 million payment approved by Sepp Blatter.
Platini arrived relaxed for his fixture with the FIFA appeal committee by strolling from his nearby hotel into the main entrance.
After a long day with the lawyers in a “very good hearing,” the former FIFA presidential hopeful seemed at ease, emerging from his car into icy rain to conduct an impromptu news conference.
“I am rather happy with how it went. As for their interpretation, we’ll see how it goes,” said Platini, who denies wrongdoing. He is challenging sanctions imposed in December after a FIFA ethics committee hearing which he refused to attend, claiming his guilt was pre-judged.
“This time I was really listened to by people who are part of the football family, who know what the problems are,” Platini said, adding that a ruling could be given this week.
Still, the appeals panel chaired by Larry Mussenden — a former attorney general of Bermuda, who is seeking to become a FIFA vice president by winning the CONCACAF presidency in May — rarely overturns verdicts.
FIFA’s ethics committee found Platini guilty of accepting gifts, conflicts of interest and breaching loyalty and general conduct rules. He was fined 80,000 Swiss francs ($81,000).
Ethics judges said Platini’s argument was “not convincing” that a verbal contract entitled him to get uncontracted salary in 2011 for work as Blatter’s presidential adviser from 1999-2002.
Platini said most discussion Monday focused on the nature of the verbal deal with Blatter.
He sought to boost his case by presenting “important” evidence from two witnesses he brought: Angel Maria Villar, a FIFA and UEFA vice president from Spain who chairs the world body’s legal committee, and Jacques Lambert, a long-standing friend who heads the French organizing committee of the European Championship.
Blatter’s appeal of his eight-year ban is to be heard on Tuesday, just 10 days before the FIFA election congress he hopes to attend to see his successor chosen.