Lack of written contract caused FIFA suspensions

FLASHBACK: Blatter (centre) chats with CAF President Issa Hayatou (left), and UEFA President Michel Platini during the second day session of the 62nd FIFA Congress in Budapest, Hungary

FLASHBACK: Blatter (centre) chats with CAF President Issa Hayatou (left), and UEFA President Michel Platini during the second day session of the 62nd FIFA Congress in Budapest, Hungary

The lack of a written contract and a delay collecting payment led to the 90-day suspensions for Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, a person familiar with the FIFA ethics case told The Associated Press on Monday.

Blatter and Platini were handed 90-day bans last week after failing to provide written evidence to justify a payment of 2 million Swiss francs (about $2 million) that Platini received from FIFA in 2011 — nine years after the job was completed, according to the person. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the case.

Both Blatter, the FIFA president, and Platini, his counterpart at UEFA, face longer bans if the FIFA ethics committee proves its case to ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert. The full verdicts are expected before the 90-day suspensions end.

Both deny wrongdoing and are appealing against their suspensions.

The ethics case was triggered by Blatter and Platini becoming embroiled in a criminal investigation in Switzerland over the same payment. Blatter was questioned as a suspect and Platini is being investigated by the Swiss attorney general as something between a witness and a suspect.

The payment relates to the time when Platini worked for Blatter as an adviser from 1998 until 2002, when the former France captain joined the FIFA executive committee.

Additional 500,000 Swiss francs per year was to be deferred. The Frenchman received 1.05 million Swiss francs for three-and-a-half years of work, the person said, reiterating details first published by The Guardian newspaper on Monday.

According to the person, there was only a verbal agreement on the additional 500,000 Swiss francs per year — the amount eventually paid in 2011. Under Swiss law, Platini should have called in the debt within five years.

Platini, who was also a FIFA vice president under Blatter until he was suspended on Thursday, said two weeks ago that he was not paid “the totality of my salary because of FIFA’s financial situation at that time.”

A statement from the ethics committee’s adjudicatory chamber, which is headed by Eckert, said Monday that it interviewed Platini for more than five hours on October 1. Eckert “did not see a need for a second hearing” before imposing the provisional suspension, the statement added. – AP

In a separate case, FIFA suspended Thai Soccer Association president Worawi Makudi for 90 days. Details of the case were not provided Monday but Worawi has been under investigation for his conduct during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests.

- AP

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