Platini and his lawyers do him no favors

With the holiday season coming and their 90-day suspensions set to expire soon thereafter, we're heading to the finish line in the cases of Sepp Blatter and Michael Platini, whose hearings before the FIFA ethics committee are scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Blatter will be there, but Platini is boycotting the proceedings.

"By this decision," his lawyers said, "Michel Platini means to express his deepest indignation with a process he regards as solely political and intended to prevent him from standing for the FIFA presidency."

Lack of respect for the institution of FIFA has been at the heart of the problems it has  suffered for years and years, so it is surprising that Platini, the presumed favorite to succeed Blatter as FIFA president if he succeeds Blatter, would smear FIFA's ethics process.

The case against Blatter and Platini revolves around a $2 million payment from FIFA to Platini in 2011 for work he he did for FIFA as a Blatter adviser in 1999-2002. No one doubts Platini did the work or that he might have deserved the money owed.

The problem, as stated by Domenico Scala, chairman of FIFA's audit and compliance committee, was that the money was never accounted for.

“Based on my knowledge, there was no written contract regulating the payment of 2 million Swiss francs, which was paid in 2011," he said in October. "In any normal business, there would be a written contract. However, the main point is not whether a written contract exists or not. The key points are a conflict of interest and the non­-accrual of the 2 million Swiss francs in FIFA’s accounts. Both parties admit that there was an agreement about the 2 million Swiss francs, but that amount was never recorded in FIFA’s accounts until the payment occurred. That is a serious omission, and both parties were members of FIFA’s executive committee and knowingly approved each year financial statements which were incorrect by 2 million Swiss francs. That could be seen as falsification of the accounts.”

The argument of Platini and his lawyers that the FIFA process is a sham is based on a statement by Andreas Bantel, a spokesperson for the ethics committee's investigatory body, that "Platini will certainly be suspended for several years."

Bantel quickly backtracked, saying his comments were not made in his official capacity, but it should be noted that the investigatory body would be similar to the prosecutors' office, and the final decision will be made by the adjudicatory chamber. That structure was part of the reforms introduced in 2011 as FIFA it started -- belatedly -- to crack down on corruption.

A decision in the cases against Platini and Blatter are expected on Monday or Tuesday. Any sanctions can be appealed to the FIFA appeals committee and then the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Platini sounds like a man who wants to save his honor and doesn't care about his presidential bid.
1 comment about "Platini and his lawyers do him no favors".
  1. Kenneth Barr, December 17, 2015 at 6:33 a.m.

    Platini's attitude is typical of his Eurocentric mind set that has been on display for years. UEFA should have not its fair share of World Cup slots but a majority, says Platini. Why else would he demand, yes, demand a 14th slot for UEFA at Russia 2018. NOw, with his hand firmly trapped in the cookie jar, he pulls a bin Hamman. "I'm too big for you to punish. I am UEFA," he says. In fact, he is nothing more than another corrupt and power mad football suit who has totally sullied his reputation not only as one of France's outstanding players (Zidane, Henry and Fontane are the only others at his level) but as a responsible adult. He willend up just like his early mentor turned antagonist Blatter. HIs trategy is to rely solely on CAS, which is right out of the bin Hamman play book. Why should it work any better for Platini? Both of them are toast and Blatter has the additional concern of what the Swiss or the US Justice Dept. turn up. At least there Platini is safe, for now.

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