UEFA wants fast decision for Platini; no delay for FIFA election

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European soccer governing body UEFA called for a rapid decision in the case of its suspended President Michel Platini on Thursday and said the FIFA presidential election should go ahead in February as planned.
“We strongly call on all instances in the current process…to work very rapidly to ensure that there is a final decision on the merits of the case by, at the latest, mid-November 2015,” said UEFA in a statement.
Platini and FIFA President Sepp Blatter were given a 90-day ban by the FIFA Ethics Committee last week, pending a full investigation into both men’s activities, in the latest twist to the scandal, which has engulfed FIFA and international soccer.
Platini is standing in the FIFA presidential election due to be held on Feb 26, although the ban could severely hamper his chances of passing an integrity test which is part of the electoral process.
“Michel Platini is a candidate for the FIFA presidency,” said Infantino. “The FIFA Congress which is scheduled to take place on February 26 has to take place then, it should not be delayed.”
“If someone else comes up (as a candidate), if another European comes up, it’s too early to say. It was discussed and no decision was taken.”
UEFA decides to back suspended Platini
“Currently the president of UEFA is only suspended by FIFA,” UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said. “For the time being he does receive his salary as he does continue being UEFA president.”
Platini received 2 million Swiss francs (about $2 million) from FIFA in 2011, which, he says, was unpaid additional salary from his job as Blatter’s adviser between 1998 and 2002.
Platini’s lawyer took questions at Thursday’s meeting of all 54 UEFA members and the executive committee who decided to unanimously continue supporting its leader of eight years, Infantino said.
“The lawyer expressed the wish of Mr. Platini to fight with all instances to clear his name,” Infantino said. “And Mr. Platini got the support of the executive committee for this to happen — to fight to clear his name.”
Austrian federation president Leo Windtner confirmed that, “all nations give all support to Mr. Platini.”
“We got a unified position of UEFA,” Windtner said outside UEFA headquarters in Nyon.
Infantino said UEFA members support Platini’s “right to a due process and a fair trial and for the opporutnity to clear his name” which they want to happen by mid-November.
Platini is appealing against the interim suspension, pending a full verdict by FIFA’s ethics judge, and he has the further option of going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Platini still hopes to stand in the FIFA presidential election in February, even though it seems hard for him to be declared ineligible once the candidate integrity checks are conducted after Oct. 26.
Platini submitted his paperwork hours before being suspended last week.
“Michel Platini is already a candidate for the FIFA presidency,” Infantino said, overlooking the fact that status is only declared by FIFA’s election committee.
Only Platini and Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein of Jordan have said they have submitted their paperwork to FIFA ahead of the deadline for candidates.
FIFA investigators have not yet been convinced there was even an oral agreement between Platini and Blatter, which accounts for the unpaid debt called in at the start of 2011. Platini said he did not receive his full salary by 2002 because FIFA could not afford to pay him.
Platini has not produced a written contract to show the money was owed to him. Because of his ban from any role in soccer, Platini was not allowed to attend Thursday’s meeting.
Besides the FIFA probe, the payment is also being investigated by the Swiss attorney general.

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