FIFA dashes Platini's hopes of appeal ahead of election
Michel Platini has been told by Fifa that he cannot bypass its appeals process by challenging his eight-year ban directly at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Platini (inset) had been hoping to cut out the required Fifa appeals procedure as he races to try to overturn his ban before the February 26 presidential election.
Fifa said it wrote to Mr Platini's lawyers yesterday to confirm the Uefa leader can only go to CAS if the governing body's appeals committee first rejects his request. Fifa rules state a list of candidates must be finalised one month before the election in Zurich.
Platini was banned on Monday for eight years, along with Sepp Blatter, over a 2011 payment of 2 million Swiss francs from Fifa that the president authorised for the former France captain.
Blatter's appeal will focus on Fifa's ethics judge being unable to find sufficient evidence of corruption or bribery in the case, which saw both him and Platini banned for unethical conduct. "Blatter is eager to present his arguments to the appeal committee that the remaining charges must also fail because the evidence clearly demonstrates the relationship with Mr Platini was in all respects appropriate," Blatter's legal team said in a statement.
Yesterday, Platini accused world football's ethics committee of "sleeping" for four years before barring him from football.
Both men are appealing against eight-year bans issued on Monday. "What was the Fifa ethics committee doing between 2011 when I was paid and 2015?" said Platini. "Was it sleeping?"
Meanwhile, in an interview with French media agency AFP, the 60-year-old former France captain added: "Suddenly, it wakes up. Ah yes, it wakes up in a Fifa election year when I'm a candidate. It's amazing."
Swiss Blatter (79) - Fifa boss since 1998 - had already announced he was quitting with a presidential election in February, with Platini, also a vice-president, tipped to succeed him.
Platini has been in charge of Uefa - European football's governing body - since 2007 and was backed in a statement on Monday, with the organisation saying it was "extremely disappointed" with the decision.
He has submitted his candidacy but cannot stand while banned from all footballing activities.
Both men are appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Platini said: "I will fight. But then I'll take my responsibilities according to what happens.
"Whatever happens, my reputation has been sullied, I've been kicked in the teeth: I've been put in the same bag as Blatter," he added.