Sports court upholds ban on Michel Platini

It's not quite the final whistle for former France skipper Michel Platini. He has lost an appeal to overturn a 90-day ban given to him by ethics committee of world football's governing body Fifa. But the head of European football's ruling organisation, Uefa, is still in the race to lead Fifa.

Michel Platini wants to become head of world football's governing body Fifa.
Michel Platini wants to become head of world football's governing body Fifa. Reuter/Arnd Wiegmann

Michel Platini's bid to become boss of Fifa suffered a blow on Friday when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) backed a 90-day ban imposed on the 60-year-old Frenchman by Fifa's ethics committee.

The watchdog suspended the head of European football's ruling body Uefa as well as Fifa president Sepp Blatter in October after Swiss authorities launched an inquiry into a 1.8 million euro payment to Platini from Fifa. Blatter handed over the cash in 2011, nearly a decade after Platini had carried out work for the Swiss executive.

Blatter and Platini acknowledge there was no contract for the fee, but insist that their "oral contract" is valid under Swiss law.

CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb said judges considered whether Platini suffered irreparable damage from the temporary suspension.

In its appeal, Platini's lawyers insisted that the ex-Juventus star had done nothing wrong and was being unfairly blocked from campaigning for Fifa's top post

In a unanimous decision, the three CAS judges found that no irreparable damage had been caused. However they urged Fifa to sort out the case quickly.

The court also ruled out an extension of the temporary ban, saying it would breach Platini's rights.

"Mr Platini has lost a round, but it's not final," Reeb said.

On Thursday, Fifa's ethics committee said it expected to issue its final verdict on the fates of Blatter and Platini this month. Platini's temporary suspension expires on 5 January and CAS noted that even if it were lifted, there was no guarantee that Fifa's electoral committee would approve his candidacy before the temporary ban runs out.

"Michel Platini knows he will ultimately be exonerated," his lawyer Thibaud d'Ales told AFP.

Blatter's replacement will be decided by a vote of Fifa's 209-member associations at the end of next February. His 17-year rule as Fifa's president has descended into a quagmire of accusations and counter claims with 39 people charged with corruption by the US justice department.

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