Platini to quit after football ban upheld but reduced

Michel Platini will step down as president of European football's governing body UEFA after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld his football ban but reduced it from six to four years.

The 60-year-old former France international "will submit his resignation as UEFA's president at the occasion of the next congress of the organization," his lawyers said in a statement Monday.

Platini said the ruling was "a grave injustice" and he would pursue the case through Swiss civil courts.

"This decision is inflicting me a suspension whose length will de facto prevent me — as if by chance — from bidding for the next FIFA presidential election," Platini said in a statement.

Platini's present UEFA mandate runs to March 2019, while the next FIFA presidential elections are due in May 2019.

The UEFA executive committee will now meet in Basel on May 18 to discuss the possibility of a presidential election, which could take place in Athens in September.

The meeting, on the morning of the Europa League final set for the same day, will "discuss next steps, including the scheduling of an elective congress," a statement said. No interim president will be appointed.

Platini was banned by football governing body FIFA in connection with a disloyal payment of some 2 million Swiss francs (2 million dollars) he received from then FIFA president Joseph Blatter in 2011 for work done as a FIFA presidential adviser a decade earlier.

The CAS panel ruled that Platini "obtained an undue advantage in breach of Article 20 of the FIFA Code of Ethics" and was "guilty of a conflict of interest in breach of Article 19 of the FIFA Code of Ethics."

It was "not convinced by the legitimacy" of the 2 million Swiss francs payment "which was only recognized by Mr Platini and Mr Blatter, and which occurred more than 8 years after the end of his work relations."

Platini had claimed the money was due to him for unpaid work, but CAS said in its ruling it was "was not based on any document established at the time of the contractual relations and did not correlate with the alleged unpaid part of his salary."

Platini also "benefited from the extension of a pension plan to which he was not entitled," a CAS statement said.

However, the CAS panel considered that the suspension "was nevertheless too severe and therefore decided to reduce such suspension to 4 years, which corresponds to the duration of a presidential term."

It reduced a fine of 80,000 Swiss francs to 60,000 Swiss francs

The panel of Professor Luigi Fumagalli of Italy as president, Professor Jan Paulsson of France and Professor Bernard Hanotiau of Belgium said "a severe sanction could be justified in view of the superior functions" carried out by Platini as FIFA vice-president and UEFA president and "the absence of any repentance and the impact that this matter has had on FIFA’s reputation."

The panel however said it also noted that FIFA knew of the payment of 2 million Swiss francs in 2011 but only initiated an investigation into Platini's conduct with the ethics committee in September 2015.

Platini had hoped to be cleared to oversee the Euro 2016 tournament beginning next month in his native France in his function as UEFA boss.

The former France and Juventus playmaker was suspended in October and subsequently banned for eight years, later reduced to six. He went to CAS seeking to annul the decisions taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA ethics committee and by the FIFA appeal committee.

He was heard at a CAS hearing in Lausanne, Switzerland on April 29 when Blatter, who is also appealing to CAS against his ban, appeared as a witness. Blatter's case is expected to be dealt with later this month.

Among reaction to the CAS ruling, the French Football Federation (FFF) said it respected the decision.

"The FFF nevertheless salutes the work accomplished by Michel Platini and the quality of a man who always worked in the interest of football, notably as president of UEFA," it said.

Last update: Mon, 09/05/2016 - 13:48
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