By Andrew Warshaw
July 7 – If circumstances had panned out differently, Michel Platini could now be running FIFA. Instead, the three-time European Footballer of the Year, who rose to become UEFA president, is now well and truly yesterday’s man after his final appeal against his four-year ban for financial wrongdoing was thrown out by Switzerland’s supreme court.
Federal judges could have intervened if they believed Platini had been unfairly treated but the Swiss Federal Tribunal ruled that the ban, originally imposed for eight years by FIFA’s ethics committee, reduced to six by FIFA’s appeals body and then reduced again but rubber-stamp in principle by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, “does not appear to be manifestly excessive.”
As the verdict was announced, Platini’s lawyers issued a statement saying he “reserves his rights to continue his fight with other judicial bodies” though it was not clear how the appeals process could be continued, with the European Court of Human Rights the only realistic possibility.
Despite always protesting his innocence, Platini has now been judged four times to have illegally pocketed $2 million in backdated salary paid in 2011 for working from 1998-2002 as an adviser to then-FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
Platini and Blatter claimed they had a verbal gentlemen’s agreement but were banned for a conflict of interest.
Ten months ago, on the day he was succeeded as UEFA boss by Aleksander Ceferin, Platini made an eagerly anticipated goodbye appearance in front of his former lieutenants having been given special permission to address UEFA’s extraordinary congress.
He made a point of insisting his conscience was clear and that he would continue the fight to clear his name – but now any ambitions to return to the summit of football politics seem over.
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