Sunday 25 March 2018

FIFA face inquiry over Platini smear campaign

FIFA is investigating a “smear campaign” against Michel Platini
FIFA is investigating a “smear campaign” against Michel Platini

Ben Rumsby

Fifa is investigating a "smear campaign" against Michel Platini allegedly orchestrated from the office of Sepp Blatter. The world governing body confirmed yesterday it would investigate claims that a member of Blatter's staff authored a dossier on Platini which was heavily critical of the favourite to succeed the Swiss as president.

The document, entitled 'Platini - skeleton in the closet', was allegedly sent to several media organisations from Fifa's Zurich headquarters.

Reports of its existence prompted Uefa - of which Platini is president - to lodge a formal complaint with FIFA's secretary general, Jerome Valcke, claiming that if an employee of the organisation was responsible then he or she had "acted in gross violation of the Fifa code of ethics, and possibly also in violation of Swiss law".

A Fifa spokesman said: "In his answer to Uefa, the Fifa secretary general has confirmed that Fifa is investigating the matter."

Uefa said that it had also sent its complaint to Cornel Borbely, a Swiss attorney who is Fifa's independent chief ethics investigator, and Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of Fifa's audit and compliance committee and chairman of its ad-hoc electoral committee.

Fifa will hold an election in February to choose a replacement for Blatter, who said in June that he was standing down.

Meanwhile, South Korea's Chung Mong-joon said yesterday that Platini was too close to Blatter to be right for the job as head of soccer's scandal-hit governing body.

Launching his own bid to succeed Baltter, Chung said: "Michel Platini was a great football player, and he is my good friend. His problem is he does not seem to appreciate the seriousness of the corruption crisis at FIFA.

"Recently, Platini said Blatter is his enemy, but we know the relationship was like mentor and protege, or father and son."

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