Platini accuses Fifa committee of finding him guilty in advance

  • AFP, London
  • Updated: Dec 19, 2015 20:01 IST
A file phot of ex- UEFA President Michel Platini delivering a press conference prior to the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich. (AFP Photo)

Former Uefa President Michel Platini said on Saturday that the Fifa ethics committee has denied him of a a fair hearing on the corruption allegations they have already pronounced him guilty in advance.

Platini declined to attend a meeting of the ethics committee on Friday, instead sending a statement which was read out by his lawyer and released to the media on Saturday.

“I decided not to come before you to present my explanations in person. For one reason, and one only: I’ve already been judged, I’ve already been found guilty,” the former French midfielder and head of European soccer body UEFA said.

Platini was the favourite to replace Sepp Blatter as head of world governing body FIFA but has himself become mired in the corruption scandal engulfing the sport, in which dozens of former top officials and marketing executives have been indicted by U.S. authorities.

He himself has not been charged, but FIFA is investigating him and Blatter, who is also suspended, over a 2 million Swiss francs ($1.97 million) transfer from FIFA to Platini in 2011. Both men say it was a legitimate payment for work the Frenchman had done.

In the statement read by his lawyer, Platini said a series of comments by FIFA officials, including anonymous briefings to the press, had made clear that the ethics committee had already determined his guilt.

“I no longer have confidence in the disciplinary bodies of FIFA. They have shown their bias, their prejudices, their inability to respect confidentiality, the presumption of innocence and the rights of the defence,” he said.

Blatter appeared before the ethics committee on Thursday and a final decision is expected by the end of this month.

Earlier this week, Blatter wrote to FIFA’s 209 member state associations, on his own stationery, proclaiming his innocence.

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