KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Michel Platini has said that a payment made to him by FIFA president Sepp Blatter in February 2011 was perfectly proper and above board.

Platini, the French president of UEFA, and Blatter were interviewed by investigators acting for the office of the Swiss Attorney-General at the conclusion of today’s meeting of the world federation’s executive committee.

Later the OAG issued a statement revealing its investigation into, among other issues, a “a disloyal payment of 2m Swiss francs” to Platini authorised by Blatter.

The payment was made in February 2011, two months after Platini had voted in favour of Qatar’s bid to host the World Cup finals in 2022. Platini, by his recent admission, had had a late change of heart and originally favouring the United States.

Yet the OAG said the work had been carried out between 1999 and 2002 when Platini was Blatter’s ‘counsellor’ at FIFA. Platini did not gain senior elected office as UEFA president unil 2007.

Platini, until the Swiss authorities’ statement at least, had been clear favourite to win the election next February to choose Blatter’s successor at the head of the world game.

He responded to the events of yet another darkly dramatic day for FIFA by stating that he had clarified his right to receive such a payment.


Platini, in a statement, said: “Today I was asked by the Swiss authorities to provide information relating to the ongoing investigations surrounding FIFA.

“I have always been open to supporting the relevant bodies and authorities in their investigative work and therefore cooperated fully.

“Regarding the payment that was made to me, I wish to state that this amount relates to work which I carried out under a contract with FIFA and I was pleased to have been able to clarify all matters relating to this with the authorities.

“Today I also made clear to the Swiss authorities that since I live in Switzerland I am available to speak with them any time to clarify any matters relating to the investigations.”

Platini’s concluding sentence hinted at a sense of irritation that the Swiss police had taken advantage of a high-profile FIFA event – the exco meeting – to question him.

Critics of Platini, such as presidental election rivals Prince Ali of Jordan and South Korea’s Chung Mong-joon, will be curious to know why the president of the European federation should have been undertaking privately-contracted, handsomely remunerated work for FIFA.

# # # #