KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Michel Platini is attracting increasingly critical attention in his roles as UEFA president and FIFA vice-president as once he did out in the pitch as captain and top-scoring inspiration of France.
Platini followed his grumpy rejection of an ethics committee order to hand back a luxury watch gift by supporting the same body over the World Cup bid scandal report controversy.
In both instances the leading actor was Michael Garcia, the United States attorney who has assumed an increasingly proactive role since his formal appointment as chairman of the newly-created investigatory chamber of the ethics chamber in the summer of 2012.
Two weeks ago Garcia ruled against acceptance of watches given to 65 senior officials, including all of the FIFA executive committee members, by the Brazilian confederation at the World Cup. He and audit and compliance chairman Domenico Scala ruled that they were of a value which made them inappropriate items either to be given or accepted.
Platini snubbed the ethics order, insisting that it would be rude to return a gift; he offered to pay a sum in lieu to charity.
This week Garcia demanded that the FIFA executive committee rule for him and against ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert and approve publication of his interim, 430-page report into the 2018-2022 World Cup bid scandal.
Now Platini turned up on Garcia’s side.
In a statement, Platini – while acknowledging “certain constraints regarding the ethics code” – indicated he was “in favour of disclosing as much as possible and would never stand in the way of such a move.”
Platini thus aligned himself with fellow FIFA vice-presidents Prince Ali of Jordan, Britain’s Jim Boyce and CONCACAF’s Jeff Webb as well as the American exco member Sunil Gulati.
He may have felt he had little option, given his open admission that he had voted for Qatar. It would have been contradictory, and personally damaging, to have stood up for secrecy.
This was a further example of Platini displaying either erratic or, alternatively, single-mindedly individual behaviour.
Last month Platini insisted that Sepp Blatter should not run again for the FIFA presidency but decided he would not contest the leadership of world in next year’s election.
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