KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: No other football miscreant will be allowed to ride into the suspension sunset in the manner of Michel Platini last week in Athens.
The 61-year-old Frenchman, banned from all football activities last December by the FIFA ethics chamber, was permitted a farewell speech to the UEFA congress summoned to elect his successor as president of the European football federation.
Platini’s appearance, at the invitation of UEFA’s first vice-president Angel Maria Villar, had prompted widespread derision among critics of both FIFA and an ethics system whose formal independent status was wiped away by a regulatory change at the world federation’s congress in Mexico City in May.
However, this writer understands that the ethics chamber, headed by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, considered the Platini exception – described in a statement as a “gesture of humanity” – as a one-off decision and in no way a precedent.
Platini had fallen foul of the ethics regulations over the one single issue of accepting an unjustified SFr2m payment from FIFA in 2011 at the behest of its then-president Sepp Blatter.
However there was no known prospect of further action being brought against Platini over any other issue.
Also, the terms of Platini’s relationship with UEFA had already been considered in terms of whether he could attend the Euro 2016 finals in his native France in June and July.
On that occasion UEFA had been told by Eckert that Platini could attend the matches as a private individual and not in any official capacity; hence the door had already been pushed ajar.
Platini permit to offer a short address to UEFA Congress was granted with the proviso that he made no reference to the ethics case. Platini duly kept his side of the deal, referring only briefly to his intention to continue fighting to clear his name in the civil courts.
This writer understands that any similar application by, say, Blatter or ex-CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb would not be treated similarly.
Platini was banned initially by the ethics chamber for eight years. This was trimmed to six years by the FIFA appeal committee and then to four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, taking into consideration as mitigation his services to football down the years.
He has always protested his innocence.