Michel Platini loses appeal to CAS against his 90-day suspension by FIFA
UEFA president was banned over an alleged "disloyal payment" from Sepp Blatter
FIFA president is also banned -- both face an ethics committee hearing next week
It should have been a landmark moment for one of soccer’s chief power brokers.
UEFA president Michel Platini had hoped to attend the draw for Euro 2016 in Paris Saturday, ahead of this summer’s tournament in his French homeland.
But after the Court of Arbitration – sport’s ultimate courtroom – upheld his 90-day suspension by FIFA, one of the country’s most famous former players will have to swerve the glitzy ceremony being staged by his own organization.
It also means his bid to replace Sepp Blatter as FIFA president hinges on the world governing body’s ethics committee hearing next week, which could potentially hand down life bans for both men.
Should that happen, Platini could be back at CAS in order to take part in the presidential vote.
His absence Saturday must be galling for a man who as a gifted midfielder inspired his country to its first major trophy, almost single-handedly, at the 1984 European Championships – held in France.
The 60-year-old has been suspended for allegedly receiving a £1.35 million “disloyal payment” in 2011 from Blatter, for work he did for the FIFA president nine years earlier.
Both men deny any wrongdoing and Platini had hoped the recent emergence of a memo from 1998 detailing a payment agreement between himself and FIFA would help clear his name.
Platini’s lawyer Thomas Clay told the Reuters news agency that the memo – published in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper – was “very important evidence that Mr Platini has always been telling the truth.”
The CAS hearing did offer a glimmer of hope for Platini though, ruling that FIFA should not extend his current suspension.
It said the current 90-day suspension did not cause “irreparable harm to Michel Platini at this point in time.”
But it added: “The situation would change if FIFA were to extend the provisional suspension for any period up to 45 days, on the basis of “exceptional circumstances” as permitted by Art. 85 of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
“The Panel found that such an extension would constitute an undue and unjustified restriction of Michel Platini’s right of access to justice, cause irreparable harm to him and also tip the balance of interest test in his favor,” said the CAS statement.
FIFA has been besieged by crisis ever since seven of its members were arrested and 14 senior executives charged in May shortly before Blatter won a fifth term in office.
Extraditions and criminal charges followed as federal prosecutors in the United States continued its investigations while Swiss authorities quizzed Blatter on suspicion of “criminal mismanagement.”