Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 17th 2015 Contents A55
Thursday, December 17, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
GENEVA---Fighting for their careers in
football politics, Michel Platini plans to
boycott his hearing at the FIFA ethics court
tomorrow while Sepp Blatter is expected
to attend his today.
Platini is protesting the hearing because
he believes his case has been pre-judged,
his lawyers said yesterday in a statement.
Although FIFA investigators have asked
for a life ban, Platini could escape with a
ban of several years---a result that would
still effectively exile him and end his FIFA
Less than 90 minutes earlier, FIFA ethics
committee judges had promised Platini a
fair trial even if he carried out the threat to
snub the hearing.
The case centers on Platini getting about
$2 million from FIFA in 2011 as uncontracted
salary for his time working as a presidential
adviser for Blatter in 1999-2002.
The agreement was "a classic conflict of
interest" between two FIFA executive com-
mittee members, FIFA audit panel chairman
Domenico Scala said in a recent interview.
Because of the deal, both Blatter and Pla-
tini were banned for 90 days on October
8. Blatter, who also risks a life ban at the
ethics hearing, has said he will appear in
person on Thursday before the panel of four
"I want to defend myself," Blatter told
French daily Liberation in an interview pub-
lished in its yesterday edition, noting that
recently he has not had the right to enter
Platini s lawyers and Blatter himself have
questioned the integrity of the ethics com-
mittee during a period of intense legal trouble
for scandal-hit FIFA.
The pressure from American and Swiss
federal investigations into corruption impli-
cating FIFA forced Blatter to announce his
resignation plans in June. Platini was the
favorite to succeed his former mentor and
is now seeking to clear his name ahead of
the February 26 election.
Blatter, who turns 80 in March, appears
to want a FIFA swansong by being cleared
to host the election congress in Zurich and
be made honourary president by the 209
Both men were questioned by Swiss fed-
eral investigators at FIFA on September 25
about the payment, which emerged in a
wider probe of the soccer body s business
Switzerland s attorney general opened
proceedings against Blatter for suspected
criminal mismanagement of FIFA money,
including the Platini payment and selling
undervalued World Cup TV rights for the
Caribbean to former FIFA vice president
Platini s status in the criminal case is
"between a witness and an accused person,"
attorney general Michael Lauber said in
In 1998, Platini agreed to work for the
newly elected Blatter and asked for a salary
of 1 million Swiss francs. He got a contract
for 300,000 Swiss francs and made a "gen-
tleman s agreement," according to Blatter,
to be paid the rest later.
Platini has said he took less because of
FIFA s financial situation, and Blatter has
said FIFA s wage structure meant his adviser
could not be paid more than the secretary
Although Swiss law obliged FIFA only to
pay the deferred money within five years,
Platini reportedly asked for 2 million Swiss
francs ($2 million) in 2010.
Platini was paid in February 2011. The
timing has raised suspicion, coming only
weeks before Mohamed bin Hammam of
Qatar challenged Blatter for the FIFA pres-
idency when European votes were key.
The Platini-led UEFA urged its members
that May to support Blatter, who was re-
elected unopposed when Bin Hammam was
implicated in bribing Caribbean voters.
Today, Blatter likely also faces questions
about false accounting. The debt to Platini
should have been detailed in FIFA s accounts
from 2002 until 2011, but was not, Scala
Verdicts on Platini and Blatter are expected
next Monday or Tuesday. Any sanctions
can be challenged at the FIFA appeals com-
mittee and then the Court of Arbitration
The cases are expected to be resolved by
late January, at least one month before the
FIFA election on February 26.
BRASILIA---Marco Polo del
Nero, the embattled head of the
Brazilian football confedera-
tion, told a federal senate panel
yesterday that accusations
made against him of racketeer-
ing and money laundering were
Del Nero was one of 16 foot-
ball officials indicted earlier this
month by the US Department
An investigation by American
and Swiss officials has snared
the last three presidents of the
CBF, all of whom have been
indicted: Del Nero and his pred-
ecessors Jose Maria Marin and
"I am accused in an unfair
way," Del Nero told the panel
chaired by former Barcelona star
Romario, who is now a federal
senator. "If you see what is hap-
pening in world football it is
normal that I am being ques-
The senate is leading an inves-
tigation into corruption in the
Del Nero has taken a leave of
absence to fight the accusations.
CBF vice president Marcus
Antonio Vicente is his temporary
replacement. "I intend to prove
that I am innocent and return
to the CBF," Del Nero said.
"Administration, ethics and
transparency are fundamental."
Del Nero has been forced to
give up his post on the FIFA
executive committee as a rep-
resentative of the South Amer-
ican federation CONMEBOL.
He is also under pressure to
resign by local players who gath-
ered Tuesday at the CBF head-
quarters to demand his ouster.
Marin was arrested in
Switzerland and has been extra-
dited to the United States.
American officials will have
a difficult time getting their
hands on Teixeira or Del Nero.
While the US and Brazil have
an extradition treaty dating back
to the 1960s, Brazil has a long
history of not extraditing its own
citizens to other nations.
BRUSSELS---FIFA s presidential candidates will
be questioned by European lawmakers at a cam-
The NewFIFANow pressure group says three of
the five candidates---Prince Ali bin Al Hussein,
Jerome Champagne and Tokyo Sexwale---are con-
firmed to attend on January 27 in Brussels.
A fourth candidate, Gianni Infantino, is also
expected at the forum co-organised by the European
Parliament Sports Intergroup, NewFIFANow says.
Organisers say they offer candidates "an opportunity
to present their platform and respond to questions
It was unclear if Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al
Khalifa could attend.
In a campaign of few public events, the Bahraini
royal was the only candidate to skip meeting FIFA
voters and news conferences in Copenhagen last
month. The election to succeed Sepp Blatter is on
Plead not guilty to
new indictment in
FIFA corruption case
NEW YORK---Two previously charged defendants
in the FIFA corruption case have pleaded not
guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and other charges
in a new indictment.
Former FIFA official Jose Maria Marin and Florida
businessman Aaron Davidson entered the pleas on
Wednesday in federal court in New York City. Both
men left court without speaking to reporters.
In May, US prosecutors named the two and 12
others in an indictment accusing soccer officials
of accepting $150 million in bribes in exchange for
rigging bids for lucrative marketing rights. A revised
indictment announced earlier this month added 16
Marin, who s from Brazil, headed the country s
local organising committee for the 2014 World Cup.
Davidson ran a Miami-based marketing firm.
FIFA reports 1.01 billion
viewers for 2014 World
ZURICH---More than 1 billion people watched
the 2014 World Cup final, according to FIFA figures
A total of 1.013 billion saw at least one minute
of Germany s 1-0 win over Argentina in extra time
at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, according
to research by FIFA and Kantar Media.
Television audiences at home and people watching
in public spaces are counted, but not online viewers
and mobile phone users.
FIFA reported a seven per cent rise in a TV rating
that is often seen as the broadcasting industry s
The 2014 final had an "average in-home global
audience" of 570.1 million. It was 530.9 million for
the 2010 World Cup final.
Germany s 7-1 rout of host Brazil in the semifinals
got an in-home average audience of 390.2 million
The average in-home audience across each live
match was 186.7 million, FIFA said. In total, 57 of
the 64 matches topped 100 million viewers.
FIFA claimed that 3.2 billion people watched at
least one minute of a match. The total was the
same in 2010 due mainly to the time zone. (AP)
FIFA election candi-
dates to be quizzed by
Indicted head of Brazil soccer
says being treated unfairly
Former Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) President Marco
Polo Del Nero addresses a parliamentary commission investigating
allegations of corruption at the CBF, in the Senate in Brasilia,
Brazil, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Platini refuses to attend
FIFA ethics case hearing
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