Platini to find out by May 9 if CAS appeal is successful

Michel Platini will discover by May 9 if he has overturned a six-year ban from FIFA

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Michel Platini will discover by May 9 if he has overturned a six-year ban from FIFA over a $2 million payment approved by Sepp Blatter.

After failing to persuade two FIFA tribunals of his innocence, Michel Platini spent eight hours in a closed-door session at the Court of Arbitration for Sport to try to clear his name before returning as UEFA president and a FIFA vice president.

“I explained the truth. I have nothing to reproach myself for,” Platini said in French on leaving the court.

Asked twice how it felt to meet again with Blatter, who spent 90 minutes at the court as a witness for FIFA, Platini merely smiled and said: “Magnifique.”

Still, there will be no verdict before Tuesday when UEFA gathers in Budapest, Hungary, for its annual congress. The 54 European soccer federations have been without their leader for seven months ahead of the European Championship kicking off in Platini’s native France.

CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb said Platini did not request an urgent verdict which would have allowed UEFA members to plan for an election to succeed their president since 2007.

“The arbitrators would have worked over the weekend to render a decision,” Reeb said.

Instead, a three-member panel who judged the evidence in Platini’s case afresh have up to 10 days to give their verdict.

The CAS panel still has the authority to impose a life ban for corruption. Previously, FIFA’s ethics and appeals committees ruled out bribery as a factor, and found Platini and Blatter guilty of charges including conflict of interest and disloyalty.

Blatter, the former FIFA president, arrived at 10:30 a.m. to be a witness at FIFA’s request. He employed Platini as a presidential adviser from 1999-2002, nine years before FIFA paid Platini the $2 million in uncontracted salary.

“I accepted this task. I’m on good form and I’m happy to be a witness in this matter,” Blatter said before going in.

He emerged 90 minutes later.

“It was fair and correct,” Blatter said. “I do hope that my participation has helped to find a solution to this problem.”

Platini and his former mentor deny wrongdoing, and claim they had a verbal contract for the additional money. FIFA eventually paid Platini three months before Blatter was re-elected as president in 2011.

“I had confidence in Mr. Blatter that he would pay me,” Platini said, when asked about the nine-year delay. “What is the problem?”

Both are effectively the star witness in each other’s appeal case, and were heard on back-to-back days by the two earlier FIFA tribunals.

This time, Blatter’s appeal against his six-year ban will be heard at a later date, and by a separate CAS panel of judges.

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