Football: Platini appeal fails, damaging his Fifa bid

European football chief Michel Platini.
European football chief Michel Platini. PHOTO: AFP

Court rules out extension to 90-day ban, but Frenchman cannot attend Euro 2016 draw

ZURICH • European football chief Michel Platini failed yesterday in his high-profile bid to have a 90-day provisional suspension from world football lifted, further denting his stated intention of running for the presidency of Fifa, the game's scandal-hit global governing body.

The decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the top body responsible for settling sports-related disputes, means Platini will not be able to attend today's draw for the Euro 2016 Championship.

That occasion would have given him the opportunity to promote his ambition to succeed veteran leader Sepp Blatter at a vote in February.

Platini, barred for 90 days during an investigation into a 2 million Swiss franc (S$2.8 million) payment from Fifa to the Frenchman, cannot run for the presidency while under suspension.

Platini and Blatter have been suspended since Oct 8, engulfed by a deepening corruption scandal as the sport faces criminal investigations in Switzerland and the United States.

The CAS also ordered Fifa not to extend its 90-day provisional suspension on Platini - which expires on Jan 5, saying that doing so would be an unjustified restriction of his access to justice.

"Michel Platini notes with satisfaction that CAS partially granted his request when it demanded that Fifa not extend his ban," the Frenchman's lawyer Thibaud d'Ales said. "In substance, he is confident that his case is solid."

The ruling means that Platini's only realistic hope of re-entering the presidential race ahead of the Feb 26 elections is if he is cleared when a Fifa ethics committee makes its final ruling on his case. That is expected to happen just before Christmas.

If the committee fails to clear Platini and Blatter, who both say they have done nothing wrong, both men could face bans of several years if found guilty of wrongdoing.

Blatter's problems deepened this month when the BBC said US authorities are investigating evidence indicating he knew about US$100 million (S$140 million) in bribes paid to ex-Fifa members.

Sports marketing company ISL is alleged to have paid a total of US$100 million to officials including Joao Havelange, Blatter's predecessor as Fifa chief, and former Fifa executive Ricardo Teixeira, in return for TV and marketing rights in the 1990s.

Blatter maintained he was unaware of the payments, but the BBC said it had seen a letter obtained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States that casts doubt on his denial.

Speaking to Japan's Nikkei business daily, Blatter said the bribery case "is over, it is finished. It was solved in court. And it was solved by the Fifa ethics committee".

Asked whether he knew about the payments to Havelange, his former boss, Blatter reiterated: "It is settled. It was settled by a tribunal in Switzerland. They even went to the highest court. (There) was no harm to me on ethics, nothing."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2015, with the headline 'Platini appeal fails,damaging his fifa bid'. Print Edition | Subscribe