FIFA Files Court Claims To Retrieve $2m From Platini

Platini Wishes FIFA Ethics Panel Would 'Disappear'
FIFA ex-Vice Presidents Michel Platini/ AFP

 

FIFA on Monday said it had filed court claims in Switzerland to force Michel Platini to return two million Swiss francs ($2 million, 1.84 million euros) he received during Sepp Blatter’s reign at world football’s governing body.

FIFA banned Platini, its then vice president, in 2015 over the payment he received, sparking years of bitter recriminations from the Frenchman and a falling out with his former ally Blatter.

In a document seen by AFP last week, FIFA said it would take legal action by the end of the year “to recover the money illegally paid” by Blatter to Platini.

The organisation confirmed Monday it had launched such proceedings.

“This follows the unanimous resolution recently adopted by the FIFA Governance Committee in which it emphasised that FIFA was duty-bound to try to recover the funds illicitly paid by one former official to another,” FIFA said in a statement.

“Even the Swiss Federal Supreme Court has confirmed that this 2 million Swiss franc gift was to be viewed as an ‘undue payment’.”

It added: “If and when successfully recovered, these funds (together with interest) will be fully channelled back into football development, which is where the money should have gone in the first place.”

Blatter authorised the payment in 2011. The Swiss authorities started investigating in 2015 while FIFA’s ethics investigators branded the payment “disloyal” and banned Platini for six years.

The Frenchman subsequently appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which reduced his suspension to four years while ruling it “was unconvinced as to the legitimacy of the payment, which was only recognised by Mr. Platini and Mr. Blatter.”

AFP

FIFA To Take Legal Action In Recovery Of $2m From Platini

Platini Wishes FIFA Ethics Panel Would 'Disappear'
French former football player and former UEFA head Michel Platini attends the French L1 football match between Nancy (ASNL) and Saint-Etienne (ASSE) at Marcel Picot stadium in Tomblaine, eastern France. JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN. AFP

 

FIFA is to take legal action by the end of the year to force Michel Platini to return two million Swiss francs ($2 million) he received “illegally” during Sepp Blatter’s reign at world football’s governing body, according to a document seen Wednesday.

FIFA banned Platini, its then vice president, in 2015 over the payment. It said in the document seen by AFP it would take action “to recover the money illegally paid by the former President of FIFA to the former Vice President of FIFA.”

The document explained that FIFA also planned to target Blatter and that, under Swiss law, FIFA has until December 31 to file a claim in court.

FIFA said it planned to sue Blatter at the same time and would be seeking “interest at the appropriate rate” and “disciplinary fines and costs… both ordered but not paid.”

Blatter authorised the payment in 2011. The Swiss authorities started investigating in 2015.

FIFA’s ethics investigators branded the payment “disloyal” and banned Platini for six years.

The Frenchman appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which reduced his suspension to four years but said that it “was not convinced by the legitimacy of the payment, which was only recognised by Mr. Platini and Mr. Blatter.”

Platini has always maintained the money was a legitimate payment and he did nothing wrong.

FIFA said in the document that the “undue payment…had no basis in law, and that fact has been established in various courts and tribunals up to the level of the Swiss Supreme Court.”

AFP

Ex-UEFA Chief Platini Taking Action To Recoup Back Pay, Legal Fees

File Photo: Ex-UEFA chief Michel Platini.

 

Former UEFA president Michel Platini is taking action to obtain substantial amounts of back pay as well as a bonus and legal fees, he told AFP on Friday.

According to sources close to Platini, whose four-year suspension from football ended in October, the former France international is seeking to recoup around 7.2 million euros ($7.9 million), including 5.5 million euros in back pay.

Platini did not confirm the amounts.

“Through my lawyer, I am asking for the contractual elements to be applied,” Platini said.

A triple Ballon d’Or winner, Platini was expected to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president in 2016 but fell spectacularly from grace a few months earlier.

The 64-year-old was suspended by world football’s governing body in 2015 over a controversial payment of two million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros, $2 million) that he received from Blatter.

The payment, made in 2011 when Blatter was seeking re-election as president, was related to work carried out by Platini between 1999 and 2002.

Platini has always insisted he did nothing wrong.

His suspension ended on October 6 and he has said he now hopes to find a new role in football.

The former Juventus star said the bonus that he wanted repaid was linked to the organisation of Euro 2016.

Platini’s Swiss lawyer Vincent Solari confirmed that legal proceedings had begun.

“We have claimed the remaining amount of the back pay which we believe is owed according to the contract.”

Blatter was subsequently suspended for six years after presiding over world football 18 years from 1998 to 2015.

Ex-UEFA Boss Platini Returns To Football

Platini

 

Former UEFA president Michel Platini is finally free to return to football next week when his four-year ban for ethics violations ends, although he remains linked to a corruption investigation in his home country relating to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The former France captain and national coach went on to become one of the game’s most prominent administrators when he was elected president of European football’s governing body in 2007.

A triple Ballon d’Or winner, Platini was expected to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president in 2016 but fell spectacularly from grace a few months earlier.

He was banned from football for receiving a two-million Swiss franc (1.8 million euros, $2 million) payment from the head of the world game, with Blatter banned for eight years, later reduced to six, for his part.

The payment, made in 2011 when Blatter was seeking re-election as president, was related to work carried out by Platini between 1999 and 2002.

The pair were found guilty of “abusive execution” of their powers and a conflict of interests.

Platini, now 64, has been battling to clear his name ever since, although his ban was reduced to four years from an initial six, leaving him free to work in football again when the suspension expires on Monday.

With the former Saint-Etienne and Juventus midfielder sidelined, he watched on as Gianni Infantino, once his right-hand man at UEFA, became FIFA president in February 2016. The Swiss-Italian was re-elected in June this year.

 ‘I will be back’ 

Approached by AFP on Friday, Infantino declined to comment on Platini, who made his determination, and bitterness towards FIFA, clear in an interview with Swiss television channel RTS last month.

“I will be back. I don’t know where, I don’t know how. I can’t go out of the game on the back of a ban, even if it’s a ban made by idiots,” he said.

Speaking to French daily Le Monde about what the future holds, he added: “I have had lots of offers and requests to become a pundit, to do the Euros, the World Cup.”

In an interview with French sports daily L’Equipe, he played down talk of a return to the top levels of football administration, although he has been linked with the role of president of the French Football Federation when that position opens up in 2021.

“My wife taught me never to go back, to not experience the same love affair twice. So yes, that closes doors for me, notably those at UEFA,” he said.

“My suspension ends in October, while the last elections for the FIFA presidency took place in May and the next ones will be in four years,” he added. “They arranged that well in Zurich.”

One source close to UEFA said the organisation’s current president, Aleksander Ceferin, “could support Platini” as a candidate for the FIFA presidency in 2023 as the Slovenian “cannot stand” Infantino.

By then, the Qatar World Cup will have come and gone, but Platini has been dogged by his connections to the controversial awarding of that tournament.

In June this year he was held and questioned by French anti-corruption police investigating the 2010 vote to award the tournament to the Gulf state.

According to France Football magazine, a “secret meeting” took place in November 2010 at the Elysee Palace in Paris between former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Qatar’s then-Prince (now Emir) Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and Platini, who was then both UEFA president and FIFA vice-president.

Just over a week later, FIFA voted to award Qatar the 2022 tournament.

Blatter, then FIFA president, claimed Qatar won hosting rights as a result of a deal with France. Platini dismissed Blatter’s allegations as a “tissue of lies”.

“Because I go to eat at the President’s home to tell him who I am going to vote for as hosts of the 2022 World Cup, I get arrested? There is a whole load of things that have happened to me in the last four years that are intolerable, unbearable,” he told L’Equipe.

“If I had really been involved in corruption, the Swiss and the Americans would have found something long ago.”

AFP

2022 World Cup: Ex-UEFA Chief Platini Arrested In Connection With Criminal Probe

In this file photo taken on June 01, 2011 UEFA president Michel Platini attends the 61st FIFA congress at the Zurich Hallenstadion in Zurich. PHOTO: SEBASTIAN DERUNGS / AFP

 

The banned ex-UEFA chief Michel Platini was arrested on Tuesday in connection with a criminal investigation into the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

The French football legend elected to lead European football’s governing body in 2007 was taken into custody by French anti-corruption police investigating the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to the gas-rich Gulf state.

Qatar was named to host the World Cup in a decision that triggered controversy over its suitability amid allegations of corruption that ultimately sparked FIFA’s worst ever scandal five years later.

France’s Financial Crimes Prosecutors Office (PNF) opened a preliminary investigation in 2016 into allegations of corruption, conspiracy and influence peddling surrounding FIFA’s award of the World Cup to Qatar and also the 2018 tournament to Russia.

According to Blatter, Qatar won hosting rights as a result of a deal with the French, derailing FIFA’s own “diplomatic arrangement” whereby hosting rights would go to Russia in 2018 and then to the United States four years later.

The French investigation centres on alleged French intervention linked toPlatiniand former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

According to the specialist magazine France Football, a “secret meeting” took place on November 23, 2010, at the Elysee Palace in Paris between Sarkozy, Qatar’s then-Prince (now Emir) Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and Platini, at that time both UEFA president and vice-president of FIFA.

Just over a week later, FIFA awarded Qatar hosting rights for the 2022 tournament.

Platini has made no secret of his support for Qatar but denies he was influenced by Sarkozy, whose advisor for sport, Sophie Dion, was also arrested along with Platini.

“It was time to give them the World Cup. I am for that. It’s my conviction,” he said at the time.

Claude Gueant, Sarkozy’s erstwhile chief of staff and former interior minister, was also called in for questioning Tuesday by France’s Anti-Corruption Office of the Judicial Police.

The decision to award the event to Qatar ultimately led to a wider corruption probe that led to the overthrow of Blatter and Platini and the arrest of senior FIFA figures.

Platini, 63, led UEFA until 2015 when he was banned from football for four years for ethics violations including receiving a two-million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros, $2 million) payment from the disgraced former head of FIFA Sepp Blatter.

Qatar has been accused of buying votes in its bid to stage the World Cup and a subsequent report by US independent investigator Michael Garcia unearthed an array of suspect financial dealings, many linked to Sandro Rosell, the ex-Barcelona president who served as a consultant for Qatar.

Platini, a triple Ballon d’Or winner, was expected to succeed Blatter as FIFA president in 2016 before his fall from grace. He has been battling to clear his name ever since.

AFP

Platini Wishes FIFA Ethics Panel Would ‘Disappear’

Platini Wishes FIFA Ethics Panel Would 'Disappear'
(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 20, 2017 French former football player and former UEFA head Michel Platini attends the French L1 football match between Nancy (ASNL) and Saint-Etienne (ASSE) at Marcel Picot stadium in Tomblaine, eastern France. JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP

 

Michel Platini wishes the FIFA Ethics Committee which banned him from the sport would disappear, he told two Swiss newspapers in an interview to be published on Saturday.

Platini was banned from football activities over a two million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros, $2 million) payment from FIFA, took his case to the Swiss courts and was provisionally cleared last week. He is now campaigning for FIFA, the governing body of world football to lift his four-year ban from the sport.

The former UEFA president said in his interview that his goal “is to change this biased and opportunistic justice so that it can no longer, in the future, remove adversaries. I do not want more injustices.”

“This masquerade of justice must be stopped,” Platini said. “In this battle, I will stop at nothing.”

Platini did not suggest any alternative system for fighting corruption in FIFA.

While Platini’s lawyer says the courts have cleared the former France captain, Swiss prosecutors have insisted that the investigation “is not completely over”. Platini could still be required to appear before a judge if new evidence is found.

In his interview, Platini said: “I want this Ethics Committee whose sole purpose is to serve as a weapon of FIFA to remove opponents to disappear.”

He added that he hopes his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights “will put an end to this system where people are both judges and interested parties and whose only objective is to protect their bonuses, their business and themselves.”

Platini, who insists the payment was for work he had done, said that during his FIFA appeal, “two out of four judges were taking a nap and even by the end had not understood that I had produced the bill to make FIFA pay me what they owed me.”

“And that’s ethical behaviour?” he asked.

Platini Hopeful Of FIFA Lifting His Ban

Platini
FILE PHOTO

 

Former UEFA president Michel Platini said Saturday FIFA must now lift his ban over a 1.8-million-euro payment after Swiss prosecutors said they had found no evidence so far to bring charges against him.

“I hope that FIFA will have the courage and the decency to lift my suspension,” Platini told AFP in a telephone interview.

Platini was suspended from all football-related activities, later reduced on appeal to four years, by FIFA following a $2 million payment he received from the body in 2011 for work he did a decade earlier, with no contract to show for the deal.

The payment was authorised by FIFA’s then chief, Sepp Blatter. The disgraced Blatter is also now banned following the scandal that rocked world football.

Swiss prosecutors have been investigating the payment and French newspaper Le Monde reported that Platini had been cleared.

The Swiss public prosecutor’s office said Saturday that although no evidence had been found “so far” to bring charges against Platini, the investigation “is not completely over”.

Platini could still be required to appear before a judge if “new evidence” is found in the case, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said.

The Swiss investigation concerns the activities of Blatter during his 17-year presidency of FIFA.

 ‘There are no charges’ 

Platini’s lawyer Vincent Solari insisted the case was now effectively over.

“There are no charges, he will not be prosecuted,” Solari told AFP.

FIFA dismissed the claims from Platini’s legal team, saying in a statement that Platini had been suspended for breaching its “Code of Ethics”, not because of the Swiss probe.

“Mr. Platini was suspended for breaching the FIFA Code of Ethics. The decision was upheld by CAS (the Court of Arbitration for Sport), which confirmed the charges but reduced the length of the suspension,” the statement said.

“It has always been very clear to FIFA and CAS that Mr. Platini had never been the target of a criminal investigation in Switzerland.”

But Platini, who was one of France’s highest-profile players before moving into football administration, told AFP he believed he was now in the clear.

“My legal advisers will take all the necessary measures to ensure the FIFA suspension is lifted,” he said.

“It has been very difficult for me… I’ve really had a lot thrown at me.”

Platini said he believed the suspension had one aim: “Everything has been done to prevent me becoming FIFA president.”

In the wake of Blatter’s removal, Gianni Infantino, an Italian who was previously UEFA secretary general under Platini, took over as FIFA president.

AFP

Football Ban: Swiss Supreme Court Rejects Platini’s Appeal

PlatiniSwitzerland’s Supreme Court has rejected former UEFA president, Michel Platini’s bid to overturn his four-year ban from the sport over ethics violations.

The court confirmed a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling in 2016 that upheld Platini’s ban.

The ruling stems from a $2.08million payment the French football legend received from FIFA in 2011.

Platini, who has denied wrongdoing, was banned along with Sepp Blatter, the former FIFA president who approved the payment.

FIFA: Eight-year Ban For Sepp Blatter And Michel Platini

FifaThe President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter and UEFA boss, Michel Platini, have been suspended for eight years from all football-related activities following an ethics investigation.

They were found guilty of breaches surrounding a $2 million “disloyal payment” made to Platini in 2011.

The FIFA ethics committee said that Blatter and Platini had demonstrated an “abusive execution” of their positions.

Addressing a news conference after the decision was reached, Blatter, 79, said: “I will fight for me and for FIFA”.

The BBC quoted Platini as saying that the decision was a “masquerade” intended to “dirty” his name.

Both men continue to deny wrongdoing and intend to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Swiss Blatter and 60-year-old Frenchman Platini have also been fined $40,000 and $80,000 respectively.

FIFA boss since 1998, Blatter had already announced he was quitting with a presidential election in February.

Platini was tipped as a future leader of football’s world governing body and is a three-time European Footballer of the Year.

He is also a former captain of France and has been in charge of Uefa – European football’s governing body – since 2007.

Blatter was in defiant mood at a news conference he had called in advance of the punishments being made public.

Blatter Appears Before FIFA Ethics Committee

FIFA

Suspended FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, has arrived at FIFA Headquarters in Zurich for his hearing before the group’s ethics panel.

FIFA investigators in November, called for sanctions against Blatter and European football chief, Michel Platini, both of whom were suspended from their posts for 90 days pending a full investigation.

Blatter has reiterated that a two million dollars payment from FIFA to Platini, when he was running for re-election was legitimate and resulted from a verbal contract for work Platini had done for the organisation years before.

The payment was made in February 2011 for work the Frenchman carried out as Blatter’s Technical Advisor between 1999 and 2002.

FIFA’s ethics panel is set to rule on their cases next week, and could impose much longer bans than the provisional suspensions if it finds the men guilty of violations.

The 79-year-old Blatter suspended from his duties as FIFA President has denied any wrongdoing, calling the investigation into his conduct as “outrageous”.

The suspended FIFA President had responded to his provisional suspension, claiming that the ethics committee “did not follow the code of ethics and disciplinary code”.

 

90-Day Suspension: Platini Loses CAS Appeal

PlatiniSuspended UEFA President, Michel Platini’s attempt to have his 90-day ban from FIFA overturned has been rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Frenchman, who was suspended by world football’s governing body in October over an alleged “disloyal payment”, had hoped to take his place as a candidate for February’s FIFA presidential election.

Blatter and Platini were handed 90-day suspensions after the Swiss Attorney General opened criminal proceedings against Blatter over a £1.35 million payment to Platini.

The payment was made in February 2011 for work the Frenchman carried out as Blatter’s Technical Advisor between 1999 and 2002.

Platini was the clear favourite to succeed Sepp Blatter until they were questioned by Swiss authorities on September 25.

Both face possible life bans when they appear before the FIFA Ethics Committee at the governing body’s headquarters in Zurich next week.

New FIFA President Must Have Integrity – Wenger

WengerArsenal Manager, Arsène Wenger,has recommended integrity as a major quality that the next FIFA President must possess in order to move the game of football forward.

With the sport’s governing body holding elections in February after Sepp Blatter announced he would stand down after 17 years in charge, Wenger says the new FIFA President must also have a vision to “put football into the 21st century”.

After a series of scandals, Wenger hopes that the new president can both reform FIFA and expand the game in new territories.

“First I think it needs to be somebody who loves football,” he told the Arsenal Magazine. “Somebody who has integrity, somebody who wants to develop the game and wants to put football into the 21st century.

“Let’s not forget that football is 150 years old and is the most popular sport in the world. There’s more to come from our game.

“It looks like China, Asia, the United States are opening up to football. I believe that the first thing that all these regions will want is integrity.

“The game is beautiful, the game is fantastic. Everybody loves the game. Let’s make sure that the organisation has integrity and a clean reputation.”