Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 19th 2015 Contents A50
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, December 19, 2015
ZURICH---Michel Platini s fading chances of
becoming Fifa president were tested yesterday
at an ethics hearing over a payment of about $2
million from Sepp Blatter.
Platini, who could be banned for several years
for conflict of interest, refused to attend the
hearing at Fifa headquarters in protest. His lawyers
have denounced "a process he regards as solely
political and intended to prevent him from stand-
ing" in the Fifa presidential election on February
26.Platini s Paris-based lead lawyer, Thibaud
d Ales, arrived at about 8.15 am. Swiss time (0715
GMT) to present his defence to four ethics com-
mittee judges, and left 10 hours later.
"Now we are hoping the ethics committee will
render the law," D Ales told media gathered at
Fifa s front gate after the hearing.
Platini, the UEFA president, had been favored
to succeed Blatter in soccer s top job until Swiss
investigators questioned him in September over
suspected criminal mismanagement of Fifa
Switzerland s attorney general, Michael Lauber,
opened criminal proceedings against Blatter and
said Platini s status was "between a witness and
an accused person."
Platini and Blatter were subsequently suspended
for 90 days by Fifa ethics judge Joachim Eckert.
On Thursday, Eckert chaired Blatter s hearing,
which lasted nearly eight hours.
Verdicts in both cases are due Monday morning
and bans of at least several years are expected
for rules-breaking conflicts of interest. Blatter
has called an 11 am (1000 GMT) news conference
Monday at the nearby former Fifa headquarters.
Even if Platini is cleared, he faces resistance
from UEFA members to stand in the Fifa elec-
"We just need someone where there is no
doubt," Martin Glenn, CEO of the English Football
Association, said this week. "Fifa and football
need to change and need to be seen to be chang-
ing, so I think it would be difficult if that accu-
sation was not totally laid to rest and I think it s
quite hard to do that."
The case centers on Platini getting about $2
million of Fifa money in 2011 as uncontracted
salary for working as Blatter s presidential adviser
Platini was a Fifa vice president and executive
committee member for eight years when he first
asked Fifa in 2010 to settle the debt.
The agreement was "a classic conflict of inter-
est," Fifa audit panel chairman Domenico Scala
said in a recent interview.
"Mr Platini has asked the president to pay him
a prescribed amount, which he should not have
asked," Scala said. "It is their obligation to disclose
it to the executive committee that they have such
an agreement." In media interviews since October,
Platini and Blatter said the former France captain
asked for a salary of 1 million Swiss francs. He
had a contract for 300,000 Swiss francs, in line
with Fifa s then-wage structure, plus a "gentle-
man s agreement" to get the rest later. Swiss law
obliged Fifa only to pay the deferred money within
Platini told French daily Le Monde he invoiced
Fifa for 2 million Swiss francs (about $2 million)
in 2011 because he mistakenly recalled that he
had been paid 500,000 Swiss francs annually at
the time, and not 300,000.
He was paid in February 2011, just before a
presidential election campaign. Blatter s opponent
in that election, Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar,
Platini's Fifa presidential
bid faces ethics test
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TAXPAYER RELATIONS SECTION
"Changing the way we interact with People!"
said weeks later he was ready to dis-
cuss a power-sharing deal with Pla-
tini as a condition of securing Euro-
Led by Platini, UEFA urged its
voting members weeks before the
June 2011 election to side with Blat-
ter, who was elected unopposed
when Bin Hammam was implicated
in a bribery scandal.
If the 60-year-old Platini receives
a ban of four years, it will likely finish
his career in soccer politics. His
UEFA mandate expires in March 2019
and a four-year ban would force the
sport s European governing body to
elect a new leader rather than
appoint an interim replacement.
Tougher integrity checks being introduced by
Fifa at the February election congress could bar
Platini from seeking any senior position in the
Yesterday, acting Fifa president Issa Hayatou
called on all 209 member federations to "fully
support, implement and abide by the new
As finance director, Kattner was involved in
signing off on the payment to Platini.
Any sanctions imposed by Eckert s panel on
Monday can by challenged at the Fifa appeals
committee and the Court of Arbitration for
Sport. Those possible cases should be resolved
one month before the Fifa election in Zurich.
Platini did plead his case in person at CAS last
week in Lausanne to have his 90-day interim
suspension lifted. He lost. (AP)
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