BERN: Michel Platini, banned from world football and denied a shot at the FIFA presidency, has been cleared by the Swiss justice authorities over his involvement in the ‘disloyal payment’ farrago writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Lawyers for Platini, former captain then manager of France and subsequently 1998 World Cup organising supremo, have reportedly received a formal letter to that effect from Swiss public prosecutor Cedric Remund.
A report in Le Monde quoted the letter as stating: “We confirm that this procedure is not conducted against your principal, Michel Platini. We can also confirm that your principal will not be incriminated in this proceeding. ”
Platini was suspended by the ethics committee of the world federation in October 2015 after being found to have receipt a payment of $2m authorised by then then FIFA president Sepp Blatter. The payment, according to both Platini and Blatter, had been monies due from work Platini had undertaken by FIFA decade earlier.
Blatter was placed under criminal investigation by the Office of the Swiss Attorney-General while Platini was formally placed under notice of inquiry as a witness.
Platini had sought in vain to clear his name with FIFA, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Swiss Federal Court.
He and his lawyers may now examine whether he can launch new appeals after being given this clean bill of legal health on the substantive issue.
Platini, in response to the Swiss decision, said: “Now I hope FIFA will have the courage and the decency to lift my suspension, since justice has established that there is no unfair payment. Otherwise, I will seek to launch all the necessary procedures to quash the suspension. The soap opera will continue.
“What annoys me more than anything is that my grandchildren, typing my name in Wikipedia, can read in the last line: ‘Michel Platini, banned from football by the authorities for undue payment.’ After all I did for football.
“Now that there is this court decision, I can not be banned from football anymore.”
Platini’s suspension halted his bid to stand for the presidency of FIFA in succession to Blatter. Instead UEFA put forward his general secretary, Gianni Infantino, who subsequently won the top job in the spring of 2016.