DUBAI: Michel Platini wasted no time flouting the terms of his eight-year suspension from football by the ethics committee of world federation FIFA writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Within two weeks of being found culpable of misconduct in office the banned French president of European governing body UEFA – and FIFA vice-president – was one of the personality guests at the Globe Soccer Awards run alongside the 10th annual Dubai International Sports Conference.
Platini has been a regular presence at the event which is organised by the Dubai Sports Council and a source close to the Frenchman insisted his attendance had been agreed long before the ban was imposed.
His late withdrawal would have been both disrespectful to the organisers and unreasaonable since this was effectively a private event. Also, he had continued to insist on his innocence and intention to appeal.
However, little room for doubt was left by the terms of Platini’s suspension as announced on December 21 by the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee.
The ruling from German judge Hans‑Joachim Eckert applied immediately to “all football-related activities [administrative, sports or any other] on a national and international level.”
Both Platini and similarly-banned FIFA president Sepp Blatter have spoken angrily and repeatedly against what they consider as deliberately unfair treatment.
Platini maintained his critical stance in comments during the gala to the Italian media.
He was quoted as saying: “The ethics committee that judged me said to be independent, but who pays the travel expenses and the work of the members of this commission? FIFA.”
Platini reiterated his complaint about the process as a “masquerade” and his contention that he is being personally victimised. At issue was what he claimed to have been a delayed payment in 2011 of SFr2m for work he undertook for FIFA between 1999-2002.
He said the payment was properly due and had been declared to the French revenue services.
Platini added: “I’m the first person in the world to have paid tax on the alleged corruption.”
The 60-year-old has come under fire for changing his mind and deciding to vote for the Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup finals after a lunch at the Elysee Palace in Paris with the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the later Emir of the Gulf state.
Platini denied being influenced by the occasion.
He said: “Sarkozy never, really never, asked me to vote for Qatar. I went to the lunch and found the representatives of Qatar there.
“I made my choice in the expectation that the finals should be played in December and that the matches should have been spread around the various countries of the Gulf, not only in Qatar.”
Award winners at the gala included Lionel Messi as well as his club Barcelona, current world, European and Spanish champions. Other celebrated guests included veteran Italians Andrea Pirlo and Fabio Capello.
The conference itself heard Prince Ali of Jordan, one of five candidates for the FIFA presidential election on February 26, demand immediate publication of the mothballed Garcia Report into the 2018-2022 World Cup bid process scandal.
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