Michel Platini’s Uefa presidency in jeopardy

Michel Platini: No contract. Picture: Getty
Michel Platini: No contract. Picture: Getty
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MICHEL Platini’s chances of escaping a lengthy ban from Fifa’s ethics committee appear to have diminished after it emerged no written contract for the £1.35 million payment made to him in 2011 has been provided to investigators.

The payment to Platini, signed off by Fifa president Sepp Blatter, appears to have been paid solely on the basis of an oral agreement made 12 years previously, sources with knowledge of the case have confirmed.

Mr Blatter informed me it was not initially possible to pay the totality of my salary because of Fifa’s financial situation”

The disclosure puts a major doubt over Platini’s future as Uefa president, as well as his hopes of succeeding Blatter at Fifa. The Swiss attorney general has launched criminal proceedings against Blatter into what was described as a “disloyal payment” to Platini, and both men have been provisionally banned for 90 days by Fifa’s ethics committee pending a 
disciplinary hearing – although both have formally appealed against the ban to Fifa’s appeals committee – which is confident of making a decision within the three months.

It is understood Platini did submit an invoice to Fifa in February 2011 and was paid 2 million Swiss francs. The Frenchman has said Blatter informed him when he started as his advisor in 1999 that it was not initially possible to pay him “the totality of my salary because of Fifa’s financial situation at that time”.

A written contract does exist covering three and a half years until 2002 for Platini to be paid 300,000 Swiss francs annually, and accounts show he was paid a total of 1.05 million Swiss francs. However, no written contract has been produced which covers the 2 million Swiss francs payment made in 2011. Swiss law also states that, even if there was a written contract, any overdue payment has to be made within five years.

An emergency meeting of Fifa’s executive committee on 20 October is also due to discuss whether the presidential election on 26 February should be postponed. Uefa’s 54 member associations are also meeting on Thursday about the crisis.

Blatter and Platini have strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

Platini said last week: “Mr Blatter informed me when I started my role as his advisor that it was not initially possible to pay the totality of my salary because of Fifa’s financial situation at that time.

“I never doubted, however, that the remaining amount owed to me would be paid eventually, so I did not actively pursue it.

“I even put the matter to the side for a while, before finally requesting that the outstanding balance was paid in 2011.”

Nominations for the Fifa presidency close on 26 October, but the French Football Federation is expected to try to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to argue that its candidate is being prevented from standing because of the provisional ban.

Fifa’s ethics committee has also announced it has provisionally suspended Worawi Makudi, the president of Thailand’s Football Association and a former member of the Fifa executive committee, from all football activities at national level for 90 days. Makudi has been charged with unspecified ethics code breaches. It was claimed Makudi had demanded TV rights from an England v Thailand friendly during the bidding for the 2018 World Cup.

Meanwhile, former Fifa secretary general Michel Zen Ruffinen has revealed he is considering running, though it is unclear whether he would fulfil the necessary criteria of having had an active role in football for two of the last five years. Zen Ruffinen, from Switzerland, was sacked by Blatter in 2002 after criticising Fifa’s governance.