Saturday 17 February 2018

Platini fails in his bid to overturn his 90-day ban

Michel Platini
Michel Platini

Graham Dunbar in Lausanne

Michel Platini failed to overturn his 90-day FIFA ban yesterday, with the ruling coming only minutes after Swiss federal prosecutors said they stepped up their criminal investigation into a $2 million payment he received from soccer's scandal-hit governing body.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said its three-man panel of judges was unanimous in ruling against the FIFA election hopeful's appeal, stating that the former France great would still be able to campaign for president after an expected FIFA ethics committee verdict.

The 90-day ban "does not cause irreparable harm to Michel Platini at this point in time", the court said in a statement.

Even if the ban had been lifted, Platini was unlikely to have his candidacy - including an integrity check - validated by FIFA's election panel before the ethics verdict is due, the court said.

Because of yesterday's ruling, Platini, the president of UEFA, remains barred from attending the European Championship draw in Paris today and cannot resume campaigning ahead of the FIFA presidential election on February 26.

"Obviously, Michel Platini would have preferred get back to his duties," the Frenchman's lawyer, Thibaud d'Ales, told The Associated Press. "But he remains very confident that he will be cleared in the end. It's better to win on the merits of the case than on the provisional ban."

Platini's next legal date is Friday when his case will be heard by the FIFA ethics committee in Zurich. A life ban has been requested by ethics prosecutors and a verdict is expected days later.

Separately, Switzerland's attorney general announced new moves yesterday to gather evidence from FIFA and UEFA in a case which led to criminal proceedings being opened against FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who is also serving a 90-day FIFA ban.

The case centers on Blatter's approval of $2 million of FIFA money that Platini got in 2011 as salary for working as a presidential adviser a decade earlier. Neither body's executive committee was told when the payment was made in February 2011, three months before a FIFA presidential election.

Platini and Blatter deny wrongdoing, but acknowledge there was only a verbal agreement which they say is valid under Swiss law.

The pair faces sanctions for a range of potential FIFA Code of Ethics violations, including bribery, conflicts of interest and false accounting.

On Friday, CAS ordered the FIFA ethics court to work quickly on Platini's case, saying his provisional ban could not be extended by a further 45 days in January.

Irish Independent

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