Platini pledges to ‘tell the truth, only the truth’ in ban appeal

The suspended Uefa president Michel Platini arrived at the court of arbitration for sport on Tuesday pledging to “tell the truth, only the truth” as he appealed against a 90-day ban from Fifa.

Platini hopes sport’s highest court will set aside the ban by Friday, which would allow the Frenchman to resume campaigning for the Fifa presidency ahead of the 26 February election. It would also allow him to attend the 2016 European Championship draw on Saturday in Paris.

The CAS panel judging Platini’s appeal must decide whether a ban from duty pending a full ethics investigation was an excessive sanction.

Platini was the clear favourite to succeed Sepp Blatter as the Fifa president until they were questioned by Swiss authorities on 25 September over an alleged “disloyal payment” of $2m (£1.35m) to the Frenchman from Fifa in 2011.

“I want to tell [the judges] more than what I told you,” Platini said as he entered the court building.

Platini and Blatter face possible life bans when they appear before the Fifa ethics committee at the governing body’s headquarters in Zurich next week.

The case centres on the payment and timing of the $2m Blatter approved to be paid to Platini in 2011 as backdated salary. Platini was a presidential adviser to Blatter from 1998-2002.

Both deny wrongdoing, but acknowledge there was only a verbal agreement which they say is valid under Swiss law although Fifa was not required to pay Platini when more than five years elapsed since the work was completed.

The timing of the payment, which was not disclosed to the Fifa and Uefa executive committees, also raised suspicion. It came as Blatter was preparing for a presidential election challenge by Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar. During the campaign, Bin Hammam acknowledged he was ready to discuss a power-sharing deal with Platini as a condition of securing European votes.

Uefa urged its voting members weeks before the June 2011 election to side with Blatter, who was elected unopposed when Bin Hammam was implicated in a bribery scandal.

The ethics panel has said it hopes to return verdicts on Platini and Blatter before Christmas. Blatter has not yet lodged an appeal against his provisional ban at CAS.

source:theguardian