Paris: FIFA’s ethics watchdog wants Michel Platini banned for life over a suspect payment, the European football chief’s lawyer told AFP on Tuesday.
The FIFA vice president is already serving a 90-day suspension while an investigation is held into a USD 2 million sum he received from FIFA president Sepp Blatter who is also suspended.
Platini’s lawyer Thibaud d’Ales revealed the FIFA’s life ban demand which he described as a “scandal” and “excessive”.
“This ban is subject to the proof of corruption, but the punishment is clearly excessive,” D’Ales said.
“It’s not based on anything in the case.”
Blatter’s representatives refused to comment on whether the same request has been made against the Swiss official.
FIFA’s investigatory chamber announced Monday that it has opened a case against Blatter and Platini and that it was aiming to announce a decision next month.
Until then Platini, the president of UEFA, is forbidden to take part in the race to become Blatter’s successor as president of FIFA.
He is one of five official candidates to run football’s scandal-hit ruling body with the election scheduled for February 26.
D’Ales maintained there was a concerted effort inside FIFA to prevent Platini taking over the top job in football. The 60-year-old French football legend had been favourite for the FIFA post until the latest charges were announced.
The lawyer commented: “I’m wondering if the person in charge of the investigation shouldn’t be called instead ‘the person in charge of eliminating Michel Platini’ from the FIFA presidency?
“It’s a pure scandal, and by making it public there’s clearly an intention to cause harm.
“The masks are slipping one by one at FIFA – the electoral timetable’s being manipulated and there’s a stategy to get rid of Platini as a candidate.”
FIFA’s investigative committee affirmed that the report with requested sanctions had been handed over to Platini and Blatter’s legal team.
“I can confirm that Michel Platini and his lawyers have got the report and they have also received the request of the investigative committee,” spokesman
Andreas Bantel told AFP, without reference to the sanction demanded.
“They know what is in the report and they are free to comment on it,” he added.
On Saturday, FIFA’s ethics committee, citing privacy and the presumption of innocence, said it would not disclose the nature of the punishments requested against Platini and Blatter.
Swiss prosecutors said in October that Blatter is under criminal investigation for mismanagement at FIFA. Platini was named in the investigation, but is not yet a suspect, over a two million Swiss franc ($2 million) payment made by FIFA in 2011 for work he did a decade earlier.
Blatter has said the two had an “oral contract” for the payment and that this is allowed under Swiss law and FIFA regulations.
Appeals by both Blatter and Platini against their 90-day suspensions were rejected last week, and Platini has taken his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with a decision expected soon.