Tuesday 23 January 2018

Platini could not provide contract for €1.85m payment

Michel Platini faces being banned for 90 days
Michel Platini faces being banned for 90 days

Martyn Ziegler Zurich

Michel Platini's chances of escaping a lengthy ban from FIFA's ethics committee appear to have diminished, after it emerged no written contract for the €1.85m payment made to him in 2011 has been provided to investigators probing the case.

The payment to Platini, signed off by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, appears to have been paid solely on the basis of an oral agreement made 12 years previously, sources said.

The disclosure puts a major doubt over Platini's future as UEFA president, as well as his hopes of succeeding Blatter at FIFA. The Swiss attorney general has launched criminal proceedings against Blatter into what was described as a "disloyal payment" to Platini, and both men have been provisionally banned for 90 days by FIFA's ethics committee pending a disciplinary hearing - though both have formally appealed against the ban to FIFA's appeals committee - which is confident of making a decision within the three months.

It is understood Platini did submit an invoice to FIFA in February 2011 and was paid 2m SFr (Swiss francs).

A written contract does exist covering three-and-a-half years until 2002 for Platini to be paid 300,000 SFr annually, and accounts show he was paid a total of 1.05m SFr. However, no written contract has been produced which covers the 2m SFr payment made in 2011.

Swiss law also states that even if there was a written contract, any overdue payment has to be made within five years.

An emergency meeting of FIFA's executive committee on October 20 is also due to discuss whether the presidential election on February 26 should be postponed. UEFA's 54 member associations are also meeting on Thursday about the crisis.

Blatter and Platini have strenuously denied any wrongdoing. Platini said last week: "Mr Blatter informed me when I started my role as his adviser that it was not initially possible to pay the totality of my salary because of FIFA's financial situation at that time.

"I never doubted, however, that the remaining amount owed to me would be paid eventually, so I did not actively pursue it. I even put the matter to the side for a while, before finally requesting that the outstanding balance was paid in 2011."

Nominations for the FIFA presidency close on October 26, but the French football federation is expected to try to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to argue that its candidate is being prevented from standing because of the provisional ban.

Meanwhile, former FIFA secretary general Michel Zen Ruffinen has revealed he is considering running, though it is unclear whether he would fulfil the necessary criteria of having had an active role in football for two of the last five years.

Zen Ruffinen, from Switzerland, was sacked by Blatter in 2002 after criticising FIFA's governance.

Irish Independent

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