FIFA President Infantino is sad that ex-boss Platini remains banned
Platini saw the FIFA presidency as his destiny, but the UEFA leader was prevented from running when a bribe was exposed
Gianni Infantino expressed sadness Monday that Michel Platini failed to overturn his ban, despite the new FIFA president gaining soccer’s top job after charges of financial wrongdoing knocked his former boss out of the race.
Platini saw the FIFA presidency as his destiny, but the UEFA leader was prevented from running in February’s election when a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million) from the global governing body was exposed.
Instead, Infantino was plucked from the relative of obscurity of the UEFA general secretary job to become Europe’s candidate to succeed Sepp Blatter.
Infantino received the news that the Court of Arbitration for Sport had reduced Platini’s ban to four years while in Mexico City preparing for his first congress as FIFA president.
“Obviously as FIFA president I need to respect the decision of the CAS — there is no doubt about that,” Infantino said. “On a personal level, of course, I am very sad about the decision. I have worked with Michel for the last nine years in UEFA, seven as general secretary. ... All together we did some great things.
“And I really want to keep these positive memories, at this moment focus on the positive memories.”
The CAS panel ruling clears a potential barrier to Infantino seeking a second term leading FIFA. The election will be in approximately May 2019, and Platini will remain banned until late 2019.
VIDEO: Infantino in Mexico City reacts to Platini failing to get his FIFA ban overturned pic.twitter.com/7Rg13Imu12— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) May 10, 2016
FIFA’s ethics committee provisionally suspended Platini along with Blatter in October and then banned them for eight years in December. FIFA’s appeal panel cut two years off their sanctions in February as reward for their long service to the sport.
Both men are appealing to CAS, but Platini’s case was heard first, and another two years were slashed from his ban.
CAS said it was “not convinced by the legitimacy” of Platini being paid 2 million Swiss francs by FIFA in 2011, nine years after his work as a Blatter adviser ended when he joined the executive committee.
Asked if FIFA would now seek to reclaim the cash, Infantino said: “Now is not a moment to speculate about these things.”
Infantino hosted the first meeting Monday of the FIFA Council, which has replaced the discredited executive committee following far-reaching corruption and bribery scandals.
Football’s Infantino defends 40-team World Cup planInfantino indicated Africa would be the biggest beneficiary, with two extra places, while Asia and would also get an extra place and a playoff spot Sports
New FIFA president Infantino makes first visit to RussiaGianni Infantino is visiting 2018 World Cup host Russia for the first time Sports
Swiss police raid UEFA headquarters to examine contractInfantino, elected FIFA president in February, said in a statement issued by the soccer body that he welcomed any investigation into the matter Sports
New FIFA president ‘dismayed’ after name found in Panama PapersReports said Infantino had signed off on a contract with two Argentine businessman who were later indicted Sports