Michel Platini’s lawyer calls lifetime ban ‘excessive’ and a ‘scandal’

Fifa’s ethics watchdog wants Michel Platini banned for life over a suspect payment, but the embattled Uefa president's lawyer, Thibaud d’Ales, described that sentence as a “scandal” and “excessive”.

The lawyer for embattled Uefa president Michel Platini says a call to ban his client from football for life is ‘pure scandal’. Eric Gaillard / Reuters
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Paris // Fifa’s ethics watchdog wants Michel Platini banned for life over a suspect payment, the European football chief’s lawyer said on Tuesday.

The Fifa vice president is already serving a 90-day suspension while an investigation is held into a US$2 million (Dh7.34m) sum he received from Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who is also suspended.

Platini’s lawyer, Thibaud d’Ales, revealed Fifa’s life ban demand which he described as a “scandal” and “excessive”.

“This ban is subject to the proof of corruption, but the punishment is clearly excessive,” D’Ales told Agence France-Presse. “It’s not based on anything in the case.”

Blatter’s representatives refused to comment on whether the same request has been made against the Swiss official.

Fifa’s investigatory chamber announced Monday that it has opened a case against Blatter and Platini and that it hoped to announce a decision next month.

Until then Platini, the president of Uefa, is forbidden to take part in the race to become Blatter’s successor as president of Fifa.

He is one of five official candidates to run football’s scandal-hit ruling body with the election scheduled for February 26.

D’Ales maintained there was a concerted effort inside Fifa to prevent Platini taking over the top job in football. The 60-year-old French football legend had been favourite for the Fifa post until the latest charges were announced.

“I’m wondering if the person in charge of the investigation shouldn’t be called instead ‘the person in charge of eliminating Michel Platini from the Fifa presidency?’,” D’Ales said.

“It’s a pure scandal, and by making it public there’s clearly an intention to cause harm.

“The masks are slipping one by one at Fifa, the electoral timetable’s being manipulated and there’s a strategy to get rid of Platini as a candidate.”

Fifa’s investigative committee affirmed that the report with requested sanctions had been handed over to Platini and Blatter’s legal team.

“I can confirm that Michel Platini and his lawyers have got the report and they have also received the request of the investigative committee,” spokesman Andreas Bantel told AFP, without reference to the sanction demanded. “They know what is in the report and they are free to comment on it.”

On Saturday, Fifa’s ethics committee, citing privacy and the presumption of innocence, said it would not disclose the nature of the punishments requested against Platini and Blatter.

Swiss prosecutors said in October that Blatter is under criminal investigation for mismanagement at Fifa.

Platini was named in the investigation, but is not yet a suspect, over $2 million payment made by Fifa in 2011 for work he did a decade earlier.

Blatter has said the two had an “oral contract” for the payment and that this is allowed under Swiss law and Fifa regulations.

Appeals by both Blatter and Platini against their 90-day suspensions were rejected last week, and Platini has taken his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with a decision expected soon.

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