Monday 24 July 2017

Michel Platini 'fighting against injustice' as he appeals eight-year ban

Michel Platini
Michel Platini

Michel Platini insisted on his way into his FIFA appeal hearing on Monday that he has nothing to hide and is fighting not for his future but "against injustice".

Platini was banned in December for eight years from all football-related activity over a "disloyal payment" of £1.3m made to him in 2011 which had been signed off by then FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

Arriving for his hearing with FIFA's appeals committee in Zurich, Platini told waiting reporters: "I am not fighting for my future, I am fighting against injustice."

In remarks reported by L'Equipe, he added: "If I had anything to reproach myself for, I would be hiding in Siberia in shame.

"I will look people in the eyes, I have done nothing and I fear nothing. I am 60 years old and I never had a red card on the pitch."

Blatter is also appealing against his own eight-year ban, with his case to be heard on Tuesday.

If Platini fails to have his sanction overturned, it is likely he would take his fight to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) with Blatter poised to do the same.

Platini continued: "Is it Blatter who put me in this situation? Not at all, he is in the same situation as me. Someone pushed the button and I will try to find out who."

UEFA stated last month that it will not hold an election for its presidency until Platini's appeals process has been exhausted. The FIFA appeals committee, which is chaired by Larry Mussenden, the president of the Bermuda Football Association, has the power to reduce, increase or overturn the ban imposed in December.

As well as the ban, Platini was fined 80,000 Swiss francs by the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's ethics committee after being found guilty of breaching the world governing body's code of ethics.

The ethics committee's investigatory chamber has also confirmed that it is appealing against the sanctions imposed on Platini and Blatter on the grounds that they are too lenient.

The charges found proven included offering and accepting gifts, conflict of interest, and violating their fiduciary duty to FIFA.

Both Platini and Blatter said the payment was made following a verbal agreement between the pair when the Frenchman worked for Blatter from 1998 to 2002, though it was not paid until nine years later.

That explanation was rejected as ''not convincing'' by the ethics committee, though it did add the evidence had not been sufficient to secure charges of corruption.

Press Association

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