Sport tribunal to rule on Platini fate

Lausanne (AFP) – The international sports tribunal will on Monday rule on Michel Platini’s final appeal against a six-year ban imposed by FIFA and decide whether he can return as UEFA president.

Platini was banned for “conflict of interest” over a suspect two million Swiss franc ($2 million) payment authorised by former FIFA leader Sepp Blatter.

Platini and Blatter have been the two highest profile figures to fall over the scandals that have hit FIFA.

If the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upholds his appeal, Platini would return as UEFA president. 

That would allow him to officiate over the start of European Championship finals that start in his native France on June 10. Platini was a key organiser up until his suspension in December.

The French football legend, UEFA president since 2007, acknowledged when he went to the CAS tribunal on April 29 that if he failed “the story is over.”

The Lausanne-based tribunal is to release its verdict at 0900 GMT.

Rejection of the appeal would also mean UEFA holds its key competition without a leader. 

The UEFA executive is to meet in Basel on May 18, before the Europa League final, either to welcome back Platini or to decide its next move.

UEFA has never named an interim president during Platini’s suspension, leaving senior vice president Angel Maria Villar of Spain to fill in.

UEFA officials say an election for a president would take at least one month to organise. Several national associations say they would prefer to have a proper three month campaign which could push any vote back to a UEFA meeting to be held in Athens in September.

Platini and Blatter have both denied any wrongdoing over the 2011 payment made without a contract for consulting work carried out a decade earlier. They say there was an “oral contract.”

Blatter is still under criminal investigation in Switzerland over the payment and other aspects of his management of FIFA.

Platini has given evidence with the status of someone between a suspect and a witness, according to Swiss officials. 

He had been considered a favourite to take over from Blatter as FIFA leader, but the scandal forced him to withdraw from the campaign.

As a player, Platini, 60, won the European Cup with Juventus and captained the France team that won the European Championship in 1984. He retired three years later and is still considered one of the greatest players in football history.

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