Secret $1.4m payment to Platini ruled unlawful

LONDON • The full scale of secret payments made to Michel Platini by Fifa has been revealed by a court ruling, which disclosed that he received a pension enhancement worth more than US$1 million (S$1.4 million) while he was Uefa president.

The payment has been described as unlawful by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and was separate to the US$2 million that he was given in 2011 by Sepp Blatter, the then Fifa president, to settle what the men claimed was an oral agreement made 13 years earlier.

That payment led to Blatter and Platini being given lengthy bans by Fifa's ethics committee.

The court, which dismissed an appeal from Blatter against his six-year ban, revealed that the pension enhancement was put in place two years before the 2011 payment. By 2015, when Platini was suspended, the size of his pension fund had reached US$2.6 million.

The enhancement amounted to an undue gift because it was signed off by Blatter and was not approved by Fifa's executive committee, the ruling said.

It concluded that a six-year ban for Blatter was proportionate, reasonable and fair.

The judges also agreed that there was no verbal agreement or valid contract for Platini to receive the US$2 million payment as backdated salary for having worked as Blatter's presidential adviser from 1998 to 2002.

Platini demanded the money after learning of seven-figure "golden parachutes" received by other former senior Fifa officials. Swiss federal police are still investigating the payment.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2017, with the headline 'Secret $1.4m payment to Platini ruled unlawful'. Print Edition | Subscribe