ZURICH: Michel Platini will not be attending Friday’s FIFA ethics committee hearing which could lead to long-term suspension from all football writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Lawyers representing the French president of European federation UEFA and world federation vice-president have issued a statement saying that he believes the verdict to be a biased fait accompli.

The decision is also, presumably, driven by a strategy of being able to complain subsequently to the Court of Arbitration for Sport that Platini was denied fair process and that any sanction should be set aside.

He would still hope, though time is running out, to clear his name in time to stand in the FIFA presidential election on February 26.

The case against the former France captain and manager rests on an allaged conflict of interest over a long-delayed SFr2m payment in 2011 from FIFA, approved by its president Sepp Blatter as backdated salary.

Platini and his legal team were infuriated by prejudicial comments about his case case attributed at the weekend to a spokesmen for the ethics committee. The veracity of the comments, published prominently in the French media, was later denied.

A statement from Platini’s lawyers complained that “the verdict has been announced in the press by a spokesman [with] disregard for the presumption of innocence.”

It added: “This decision [to boycott the hearing] is intended to express deepest outrage at a procedure Michel Platini considers only a strategy to prevent him from running for president of FIFA.”

The FIFA ethics committee, whose adjudicatory section is headed by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, has always insisted that the process is being handled in a fair and balanced and legally-appropriate manner.