Friday 19 January 2018

FA chief: 'Difficult' to support Platini even if cleared by ethics committee

Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter
Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter

Martyn Ziegler

The Football Association would find it "difficult" to support Michel Platini even if he is cleared by FIFA's ethics committee this week over the £1.3million payment he received from the world governing body.

Platini is to boycott the ethics hearing claiming his fate has already been decided to prevent him running for the FIFA presidency.

FA chief executive Martin Glenn said outstanding questions over the Platini payment - which the suspended UEFA president says was made in 2011 for work carried out more than nine years earlier on the basis of a verbal agreement with Sepp Blatter - would make it difficult to support the Frenchman even if he is cleared of all charges.

Glenn told Press Association Sport: "I think Blatter has gone anyway, and from a personal point of view I think that whatever happens to Michel Platini, and I genuinely think that UEFA has been well-run under his watch, we just need someone where there is no doubt.

"FIFA and football need to change and need to be seen to be changing, so I think it would be difficult if that accusation was not totally laid to rest and I think it's quite hard to do that, so I think it would be difficult."

Blatter himself has confirmed that the 2million Swiss franc payment - in addition to Platini's salary which was in a written contract - was not in FIFA's budget but insists it was a legitimate payment based on an agreement he made with Platini in 1998.

"The first part of the payment was in the budget, the second wasn't, but I'm not an accountant for FIFA," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "And whether or not it was in the budget it was a debt that had to be paid."

Platini's lawyers said he will not attend his ethics committee hearing in Zurich on Friday as a protest.

In a statement to L'Equipe, Platini's lawyers said: "With this decision (to boycott his hearing), Michel Platini intends to express his profound outrage at a procedure which he considers to have been designed to prevent him from running for president of FIFA."

Platini believes a verdict has "already been announced by the press", referring to quotes L'Equipe ran based on an off-the-record conversation with Andreas Bantel, a spokesman for the investigatory chamber of FIFA, saying that Platini will be suspended for several years.

Bantel however represents the body prosecuting the case and does not represent the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee which will decide on the charges.

Blatter's case will be heard on Thursday with Platini's following on Friday, with a decision expected on Monday next week.

Meanwhile, Glenn added that the FA would not make any decision on who to support for the FIFA presidential election on February 26 until much nearer the time.

"Our focus has been on getting the reform structure done at FIFA, so we have had that report issued recently and that is a positive change," Glenn said.

"We don't know who the candidates really are - and we don't actually even know yet who they will be - so we will be keeping our counsel to ourselves and deciding quite late on what we do."

Press Association

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