PARIS: Michel Platini has broken his silence over his ban from world football and his falling-out with Sepp Blatter writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The French former president of European federation UEFA and world governing body FIFA has spoken at last in a long interview with French newspaper Le Monde.
He called Blatter “the most selfish person I’ve ever met” and accused the veteran Swiss of being jealous of his footballing brilliance.
Blatter and Platini were both banned from football by the FIFA ethics chamber in December 2015 over a rogue $2m payment to the Frenchman from the world body with Blatter’s authority. Both have always denied wrongdoing.
Platini was banned for six years by the ethics committee reduced to four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. But it was all enough to cost him both the leadership of UEFA and a chance to stand for FIFA president last year.
Looking back, Platini said: “They were looking for something to hurt me. The various internal bodies of FIFA were activated by the people who pulled the strings.
“I always lived in the hope that they would tell the truth. But it never happened. It is the members of the administration who give money to the national federations. That gives them a great power, they pull the red carpet. They are the bosses at FIFA.”
During Platini’s tenure the senior officials were secretary-general Jerome Valcke, a fellow Frenchman since sacked and banned, and legal director Marco Villiger.
The latter is one of the few survivors of senior staff from the Blatter era and has been appointed deputy secretary-general by new president Gianni Infantino.
In the end Platini considered he was denied the FIFA presidency by Blatter’s own desire “to die in the job.”
Platini said: “He always said I was going to be his successor. But when I supported [Jordanian] Prince Ali in 2015, it was because he had told everyone that 2011 would have been his last mandate.
“So the political rupture dates from 2013, the day he said he would run again, but the real break was when the FBI intervened on May 27, 2015, in Zurich.”
Platini went on to attack Blatter’s character as “Machiavellian,” adding: “Do not always believe what he says. He will always tell you what you want to hear. In the end, he defended his own skin.
“He’s the most selfish person I’ve ever met. He always said I would be his last scalp. I know he had determined to ‘get’ me – not to mention the jealousy he has for the footballer that I was.”