KEIR RADNEDGE in PARIS: Michel Platini is not expected to attend the Opening Match of what was once considered ‘his’ European Championship here in the French capital on Friday.
Hosts France kick off the football action against Romania at the start of an event which had once been considered the crowning glory of Platini’s nine-year reign as president of European federation UEFA.
However last December he was banned from all football activities for eight years by the ethics committee of world federation FIFA for financial misconduct in 2011 in accepting a SFr2m payment authorised by its then president Sepp Blatter.
The suspension was successively trimmed on appeal to six years and then four years but the Court of Arbitration for Sport insisted Platini had been guilty of wrongdoing. This prompted him to announce his forthcoming resignation from the leadership of European football.
Uncertainty had continued, however, over whether he would – or could – attend Euro 2016 matches and UEFA sought guidence on the rules from the FIFA ethics committee.
Acting general secretary Theodore Theodoridis told an event launch press conference: “We received a clarification from [FIFA ethics judge] Mr Hans-Joachim Eckert saying Michel Platini can be invited in a personal capacity as long as he doesn’t perform any official function.
“The executive committee will make a decision about whether to invite him or not. I don’t expect he will be there on Friday.”
Angel Maria Villar, UEFA’s senior vice-president, will present the trophy to the Euro 2016 on July 10 since the federation will not be able to elect a new president until an extraordinary congress in Athens in September.
Theodoridis said: “Not having a president in place is not ideal but it’s a situation we have to live with and we have proved through several months that UEFA is strong enough to cope with situations like this. We are concentrating on having a successful celebration of football.”
Contenders to succeed Platini include Villar, and national association presidents Michael Van Praag of Holland and Aleksander Ceferin of Slovenia.
Since Gianni Infantino quit UEFA after being voted in as FIFA president in February the European governing body has also been without a general secretary.