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Fifa Corruption Scandal

Michel Platini fails to overturn ban and vows to quit as Uefa president over ‘deep injustice’

Court of Arbitration for Sport reduces his suspension from six to four years, which means he cannot run for Fifa president in 2019

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 May, 2016, 10:39pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 May, 2016, 10:39pm

Michel Platini will resign as Uefa president after failing to overturn his ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which cut his sanction from six to four years.

This decision is inflicting me a suspension whose length will de facto prevent me – as if by chance – from bidding for the next Fifa presidential election
Michel Platini

Platini called the verdict a “deep injustice” and said he would step down from the Uefa position he has held since 2007.

CAS effectively removed Platini from world soccer by ensuring his ban “corresponds to the duration of a presidential term”, the court said in a statement.

Platini’s current Uefa mandate expires in March 2019, and the next Fifa presidential election is due in May 2019.

“This decision is inflicting me a suspension whose length will de facto prevent me – as if by chance – from bidding for the next Fifa presidential election,” Platini said in a statement.

Leaving Uefa also frees him to pursue an appeal to Swiss courts and “establish my integrity in this case”, Platini said. Switzerland’s supreme court can overturn verdicts if legal process is abused but will not re-judge the evidence.

The court ruled that Platini was guilty of conflict of interest for taking a US$2 million payment from Fifa approved by Sepp Blatter in 2011.

The money was uncontracted extra salary for working as Blatter’s presidential adviser from 1999-2002, and was largely unknown until it was revealed by Swiss federal prosecutors last September.

The CAS panel “was not convinced by the legitimacy of the ... payment, which was only recognised by Mr Platini and Mr Blatter,” the CAS statement said.

Platini got the money “more than eight years after the end of his work relations, was not based on any document established at the time of the contractual relations and did not correlate with the alleged unpaid part of his salary”, the court said.

The judges said Platini’s attitude in court was a factor in the verdict. The ruling cited “the absence of any repentance and the impact that this matter has had on Fifa’s reputation”.

Fifa was also criticised by the court for knowing about the irregular payment for four years before the independent ethics committee opened an investigation. For that reason, CAS dismissed a Fifa ethics charge against Platini of disloyalty to Fifa.

The case ended Platini’s hopes of replacing Blatter at Fifa.

The Uefa executive committee will meet next week in Basel, Switzerland, on the sidelines of the Europa League final to discuss replacing Platini. An election is likely in mid-September at meetings of European soccer leaders in Athens, Greece.

Watch Michel Platini’s top 10 goals

Uefa said yesterday that it will not appoint an interim leader ahead of the election, and did not comment on the verdict.

Fifa also avoided comment in a brief statement, saying it “acknowledged the decision”, including cutting Platini’s fine to 60,000 Swiss francs (HK$478,000) from 80,000 Swiss francs.

Blatter is awaiting a CAS hearing to challenge his six-year ban.

Blatter and Platini were provisionally suspended by the Fifa ethics committee last October, then banned for eight years. Fifa’s appeal panel cut two years off their sanctions in February as reward for their long service.

The verdict came one month before the European Championship in his native France kicks off. He captained France to the title in the 1984 tournament.