KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Michel Platini’s safety-first strategy could yet be rewarded in the race for the FIFA presidency he craves.
Election prospects for the one-time favourite appeared in tatters when the French head of European governing body UEFA was provisionally suspended for 90 days by the ethics committee a fortnight ago.
Platini was barred from all football activity pending an investigation into his acceptance of a ‘disloyal payment’ of SFr2m authorised from the world federation in 2011 by its president Sepp Blatter.
After a hearing by the ethics committee but before it had enacted the suspension Platini submitted his formal application to be a presidency candidate together with the necessary five nominations from national associations.
This may turn out to have been one of the wisest political moves of his career.
Domenico Scala, independent head of the FIFA audit and compliance committee and in charge of the electoral process, reported to the executive committee today on the technicalities of candidacies for which nominations close next Monday.
Scala has indicated that, while Platini will not be considered a formal candidate during his suspension, his hopes could be resurrected were he to be cleared of wrongdoing before the election next February 26.
Platini was the first man formally to declare himself a contender after the election date was confirmed last July. However since then he has steadfastly refused to make any comment about his aims or ambitions or to even issue a manifesto.
He will also be aware that any appearance he may now make before the media will be dominated by his various and contradictory explanations about the circumstances of the SFr2m payment.
Platini claims it was for work undertaken for FIFA between 1999 and 2002 at Blatter’s behest but with only a ‘verbal contract’.
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