Baku, October 29, AZERTAC
Michel Platini has come out fighting in the apparently unshakeable belief he will still be the next FIFA president despite his suspension from world football, according to The Telegraph.
FIFA’s Ethics Committee earlier this month banned the UEFA president for 90 days while it investigates the circumstances surrounding a payment of two million Swiss Francs (£1.35 million) he received from FIFA in 2011.
In a world-exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Platini accused ethics inspectors of failing to investigate the case before banning him. He insists he will take the matter to the highest court to clear his name, and is determined to press on with his bid to succeed his former friend Sepp Blatter in the election in February.
He is one of seven candidates to succeed Blatter, who on Tuesday launched an extraordinary attack on the Frenchman via the Russian state news agency Tass.
Platini, 60, who was the overwhelming favourite to win before his suspension, told The Telegraph: “I am, in all humility, the most able to run world football.” He offered his fullest defence yet of the controversial payment – for consultancy work – which led to his suspension, insisting it was legal and fully declared to the tax authorities. The payment was made nine years after the work was carried out, and – crucially – three months before the FIFA presidential election in 2011 when Platini decided not to challenge Blatter, 79.
Platini, UEFA president for eight years, insisted: “The two million represents the equivalent of four years’ salary arrears that FIFA owed me when I was the president’s special adviser. The president himself offered me a contract and a salary that I accepted.