PARIS: Patrick Kanner, the French Sports Minister, has thrown his support behind UEFA president Michel Platini in his fight to overturn an eight-year ban from football writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Platini has said he will contest the ruling by the FIFA ethics committee first in the FIFA appeal court and then, if necessary, in the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In the meantime, he remains head of the European federation, if in name only.

Kanner raised doubts about the independence of the ethics committee which also banned FIFA president Sepp Blatter for eight years.

He said: “We know very well that FIFA’s ethics committee has been very close to the former managers, notably Sepp Blatter … who is perhaps dragging down with him the man he expected to be his successor but who was not always the man he wanted to see take his place.

“I regret this because Michel Platini is in a sense being hounded. Was he able to defend himself under fair conditions? I’m not convinced.”

FIFA has insisted that the ethics committee, headed by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, operates independently of; its members are appointed by the FIFA Congress and cannot be members of any standing committees.

Platini is determined to fight on in a time-pressured bid to stand for FIFA president in February and/or then try to retain his place as UEFA president.

UEFA has postponed its congress, usually held in the spring, until the start of June, just before the opening of the European Championship finals in Platini’s native France.