KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Michel Platini has failed in his attempt to overturn his FIFA ethics conviction at the European Court of Human Rights.
Judges in Strasbourg have ruled as “justified” the four-year suspension imposed on the French former vice-president of the world football federation and ex-president of European governing body UEFA.
He had been kicked out of the game for accepting a controversial $2m payment from FIFA which had been authorised by the then president Sepp Blatter (himself also subsequently suspended). FIFA is pressing to have the money repaid.
Platini appealed to the ECHR after failing to clear his name at the FIFA appeal committee, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Swiss Federal Court. He has always denied any wrongdoing and insisted that he was paid only monies which were properly owed for work on behalf of FIFA between 1999 and 2002.
He was banned originally for eight years, reduced during the appeals process. The suspension effectively prevented him running for the FIFA presidency.
Platini’s lawyers complained to the ECHR that he was the victim of a violation of Article 6.1 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the right to a fair trial.
Individuals complicit, according to Platini, had been Trinidadian lawyer Vanessa Allard who investigated his case for the FIFA ethics committee, Andreas Bantel, spokesperson for the investigating chamber of the ethics committee and the FIFA audit and compliance committee of FIFA and the then audit chair Domenico Scala for allegedly prejudicial comments in an interview with the Financial Times.
Platini’s lawyers also claimed that the suspension unfairly affected his labour rights and are studying ways and means of pursuing the case in the French and Swiss civil courts.
He has talked hopefully on returning to the game since the expiry of the suspension last October. Nothing has yet materialised.
FIFA said it had “taken note of the decision . . . to reject the appeal of Mr Platini, which the Court considered to be manifestly ill-founded. ”
A statement added: “This judgment is in line with the decision of FIFA’s ethics committee, which was confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sports and also by the Swiss Federal Tribunal.
“FIFA will continue to seek restitution of the CHF 2 million unduly paid by former FIFA President Joseph Blatter to Mr. Platini back in February 2011.”