KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Michel Platini has slid further towards the edge of the credibility chasm after his lawyers were assailed by the FIFA ethics committee over a complaint at the lack of a fair hearing ahead of his 90-day suspension.

It takes a great deal for the ethics committee to offer anything more than a ‘no comment’ to anything but clearly such was the anger generated by Platini’s comments last week that a sharp rebuttal has been issued.

Last Wednesday the French head of European federation UEFA was suspended – along with FIFA president Sepp Blatter and secretary-general Jerome Valcke – by ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert on the recommendation of the investigatory chamber.

A substantive issue was Platini’s identification by the Swiss police as having accepted a ‘disloyal payment’ from Blatter in 2011.

Not only has Platini failed to provide a plausible explanation for the and its timing but its existence prompted questions about conflict of interest and even legality since both men were serving on the organisation’s governing board.

Platini’s complaint has provoked a stern rebuttal from the adjudicatory chamber headed by German judge Eckert.

‘Invalid argument’

A statement said:

“The argument put forward by Michel Platini’s lawyers that their client had not had the possibility to defend himself before the adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee before his suspension is not valid.

“After the investigatory chamber of the FIFA ethics committee had heard him for more than five hours on October 1, 2015 – with the hearing documented on more than 50 pages – the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber, Hans-Joachim Eckert, did not see a need for a second hearing with Mr Platini.

“This proceeding is fully in line with article 84.2 of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”

Article 84.2 states:

“The chairman of the adjudicatory chamber may make his decision on the basis of the case files available to him, without hearing the parties, in which case the parties shall be summoned to a hearing or invited to submit written statements after the decision has been issued. After hearing the parties, the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber shall confirm, revoke or amend his decision.”

Five-hour hearing

Hence, in this case, Eckert and his legal team not only ensured that Platini was heard but that the Frenchman had a full five hours in which to state a case.

Members of the UEFA’s headless executive committee – no interim president has been appointed despite Platini’s suspension – meet in Nyon in emergency session on Thursday.

While they are expected to show loyalty to their president, several members are known to be growing increasing embarrassed by his attempts to wriggle around the issues.

His protestation at the absence of a fair hearing has been exposed – if the ethics committee is to be believed, of course – as one more nail in the coffin of his credibility.

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