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English FA suspends support for Michel Platini

Michel Platini (right) with Barcelona's Lionel Messi (left) and Cristiano Ronaldo, was revered as a player during his career with St Etienne and Juventus.
Michel Platini (right) with Barcelona's Lionel Messi (left) and Cristiano Ronaldo, was revered as a player during his career with St Etienne and Juventus. Reuters

Platini's ambition to obtain the top job in football administration suffered a setback on Friday when the English FA, one of the former France captain's most vocal backers, announced it was withdrawing its blessing until his name is cleared.


The English Football Association on Friday suspended its support for Platini's bid to become president of the world game's governing body Fifa.

The new blow to the leader of European football's ruling body Uefa came less than 24 hours after Uefa had given support to its president.

The FA said it had been told of more information "relating to the issues at the centre of this case from Mr Platini's lawyers" at a Uefa meeting on Thursday.

"As a result of learning this information, the FA board has concluded that it must suspend its support for Mr Platini's candidacy for the Fifa presidency until the legal process has been concluded and the position is clear," said a statement.

"We have been instructed that the information must be kept confidential and therefore we cannot go into specifics."

Platini, 60, had been favourite to take over as Fifa president from Sepp Blatter until he was named in a criminal investigation Blatter faces in Switzerland.

Swiss prosecutors are looking into a 1.8 million euro payment that Platini received from Fifa in 2011 for work carried out in 2002.

Platini and Blatter have denied any wrongdoing. Platini was suspended by Fifa's ethics committee for 90 days because of the case.

His ambition to succeed Blatter is in jeopardy with speculation rising about promoting other candidates for the election on 26 February.

On Thursday, Uefa's 54 member nations released a statement backing Platini's "right to a due process and a fair trial and to the opportunity to clear his name."

But recently the German, Dutch and Danish associations have all said that Platini must clear his name.

Uefa Secretary General, Gianni Infantino said after Thursday's meeting that discussions would take place about the possibility of supporting another candidate.

"It's something that will be discussed by Uefa representatives with members of other confederations, as we've done in the past, and we'll see if another candidate from another confederation or another European comes up."

Fifa has been in even greater turmoil since Blatter and Platini were suspended over the Swiss investigation.

Both have appealed against the 90 day ban even though Blatter is promising to stand down in four months time.

Blatter, 79, was elected to a fifth term as president in May, two days after US authorities charged 14 football officials and business executives over more than 150 million euros in bribes. However he announced four days later that he would stand down.

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