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
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.
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 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