(WFI) Former UEFA president Michel Platini arrived at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne Friday morning to appeal his six-year ban from world football.
The ban came as a result of a $2 million payment given to Platini by former FIFA president Sepp Blatter for his consultant work from 1998 to 2002. The payment was not made until 2011. The FIFA ethics committee decided bribery was not a factor but suspended Platini and Blatter on charges of conflict of interest and disloyalty.
The FIFA appeals committee reduced the eight-year bans for Platini and Blatter to six, stating that “activities and the services they had rendered to FIFA, UEFA and football in general over the years should deserve appropriate recognition as a mitigating factor.”
The three-judge panel of Luigi Fumagelli of Italy, Jan Paulsson of France and Bernard Hanotiau of Belgium will hear the case with fresh ears and could remove Platini’s ban, reduce it or impose a lifetime sentence.
CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb says the decision could come as early as next Monday.
“Hopefully it will be early next week, maybe a little later,” Reeb said. “The CAS tribunal will adapt itself to the needs of the parties.”
Platini has called on a number of witnesses to help his case, most notably his alleged partner-in-crime Blatter.
“I accepted this task. I’m on good form and I’m happy to be a witness in this matter,” Blatter said upon his arrival at CAS.
FIFA vice president Angel Maria Villar of Spain and Euro 2016 tournament director Jacques Lambert are also at CAS to speak on the behalf of Platini. Villar is a likely candidate to replace Platini as president of the European Confederation if his ban is upheld. UEFA would likely organize an election in June before the Euro 2016 tournament begins on June 10.
Platini hopes his name is cleared so he may oversee and attend the tournament that will be played in his home country of France for the first time since he and his team won the tournament in 1984.
The CAS ruling on Platini is expected to be announced before Blatter appears before the sport court to appeal his identical ban from football. The ban ended Blatter’s 17-year reign at the helm of FIFA. UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino was elected to replace Blatter at the FIFA extraordinary congress in February.
Platini will return Blatter’s favor and act as a witness in his appeal to CAS.
By INSIDER Kevin Nutley
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