PARIS: Michel Platini, the banned president of UEFA, has been offered a free, all-matches invitation to attend the European Championship finals in France – by the organisers writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Platini was banned from all football activities last December by the ethics committee of world federation FIFA of which he had been vice-president. His punishment was imposed for accepting a $2m ‘disloyal payment’ from the earlier president Sepp Blatter.

The former captain and manager of France has protested his innocence and is taking his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the hope of clearing his name and being able to resume his presidency of the European federation.

Welcome invite

Whatever the status of that appeal Jacques Lambert, the local organising president of Euro 2016, is prepared to welcome Platini to whatever match he wishes to attend.

The men go back a long way: in 1998 Platini was president of the local organising committee for the World Cup in France while Lambert was its chief executive and general manager.

Lambert has now said: “Michel and I have always worked together. Certainly, at the moment, he is prevented from undertaking his official duties but that hasn’t stopped him taking a daily interest in our preparations for the tournament.

“Very possibly Michel will be back as UEFA president by then and will be able to exercise his functions as president. If that is not the case then there is a standing invitation to him from the French football federation and myself for him to attend.”