ZURICH: Michel Platini remained stranded on the pitch of uncertainty today after his attempt to clear his name appeared to fall on deaf ears writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The French head of European federation UEFA and Sepp Blatter, president of world governing body FIFA, face an ethics committee inquiry into activities which are the subject of investigation by the Office of the Swiss Attorney-General.
Swiss investigator Cornel Borbely will head the inquiry into Platini while Robert Torres, Chief Justice of Guam and a senior member of FIFA’s independent ethics chamber, will concern himself with Blatter.
Platini had sought to allay concerns raised by the Swiss judicial authorities over a payment of 2m Swiss francs for his work at FIFA between 1999 and 2002.
However his second statement in four days failed to provide transparency over the nine-year delay in making the payment in 2011 and also the overall sums which had been involved.
Nor did it address the timing of the payment in context of events in FIFA at the time.
The issues raised and not addressed prompted further speculation within the game about whether his bid for presidency of FIFA remained tenable.
Simultaneously the German newspaper Welt reported that “sources close to FIFA” had indicated that the Swiss Attorney-General was prepared to initiate a criminal investigation against Platini.
Platini has insisted that he has no committed no offence, that he has complied with Swiss law and taxes in all his financial dealings.
However he would have gained no comfort from studying Article 178 of the Swiss criminal code under which he was questioned.
Paragraph D allows for the questioning of “a person who is not an accused but who cannot be excluded as the perpetrator of or as a participant in the offence under investigation or another related offence.”
Swiss Attorney-General Michael Lauber underlined the legally vulnerable position of Platini by saying: “He is somewhere between being witness and accused.”
Blatter also insists he has done nothing wrong but he is being restricted in his work as president by circumstances.
Interim general secretary Marcus Kattner and legal director Marco Villiger are in charge of day-to-day affairs with guidance from independent lawyers not linked to Blatter.
** Swiss judicial authorities have approved the extradition to the United States of Eduardo Li, the ex-president of the Costa Rica FA and former member of the FIFA exco, arrested in Zurich on May 27 under the FIFAGate corruption indictment.
# # # #