January 23 – Michel Platini is back. The Frenchman and former UEFA president returns to the global stage as the personal advisor of FIFPro president Philippe Piat after having served a four-year ban from the game for the unjustified collection of €1.8 million from Joseph Blatter.
It has long been a public secret that Platini was seeking a return to the game from the moment his ban would expire. Earlier this month, French newspaper L’Equipe reported that the Frenchman was considering a role at FIFPro. He had also been linked to a candidature for the presidency of the French Football Federation, the FFF.
“Taking into account his aura, his personal aptitudes, knowledge and functions he has occupied, he is someone important who will be heard at the highest level,” said Piat.
In 2007, the former France captain was elected UEFA president at the expense of Lennart Johansson and Platini had been expected to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president in 2016. However, Blatter and his heir apparent were toppled from power.
In December 2105, Platini had been suspend from “any activity linked to football” for eight years for receiving €1.84 million from the then president of FIFA, Blatter. On appeal, his suspension was reduced to six years and later to four by the Arbitration Court of Sport (CAS). The payment, made in 2011 when Blatter was seeking re-election as president, was related to work carried out by Platini between 1999 and 2002.
Last December, FIFA announced it was initiating legal proceedings against both Blatter and Platini to recover the CHF 2 million paid to Platini in 2011 on Blatter’s authority.
Platini has always maintained his innocence and said he has no intention of retiring. Previously, he hinted he had received a lot of offers to be a pundit, but ruled out a return to top levels of football’s administration.
At home, Platini’s reputation remains dogged as well by his connections to the controversial awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Last June, the 64-year-old was questioned by French anti-corruption police investigating the 2010 vote.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1600972081labto1600972081ofdlr1600972081owedi1600972081sni@o1600972081fni1600972081