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Lennart Johansson questions timing of FIFA payment to Michel Platini

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Former UEFA president Lennart Johansson has questioned the timing of a ?1.35million payment signed off by Sepp Blatter to Michel Platini in February 2011, just four months before his re-election as FIFA president.

Johansson said the existence of the 2million Swiss franc payment was not declared by Blatter to FIFA's executive committee in 1999, when it was said to have been agreed, and nor was it declared to UEFA's executive committee when Platini received the money 12 years later.

Platini and Blatter have been suspended for 90 days by FIFA's ethics committee pending disciplinary proceedings surrounding the case. The payment is also the subject of criminal proceedings by the Swiss attorney general.

The timing of the payment has raised suspicions: it came around two weeks after Platini had met former Asian confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam, who encouraged him to stand against Blatter. Platini decided not to stand and two months after the payment, UEFA formally declared its support for Blatter against Bin Hammam.

Asked if he thought the payment was connected to the support for Blatter, Johansson told insideworldfootball: "It must be. I mean that's exactly what it points at. Why should he have money paid at that moment, at that time of the year, and then not reporting it to the UEFA executive? He is the UEFA president."

Blatter and Platini have strenuously denied any wrongdoing. Platini said Blatter informed him in 1999 FIFA could not pay his full salary "because of FIFA's financial situation at that time". He has not explained the length of the delay or the timing of the payment however.

No written contract surrounding the 2million Swiss francs has been provided to investigators either.

Johansson, who was UEFA president and a FIFA vice-president in 1999, added: "I was a member of the FIFA executive then and Blatter should have reported it to the executive but he never did. I never heard about this arrangement in FIFA. This is quite a lot of money, not a small amount. I have only learnt through the media that Platini claims that he has a contract with FIFA."

As honorary president of UEFA, also Johansson attends executive meetings of the European body and said regarding the 2011 payment: "I would have expected this payment to be reported to UEFA.

"Platini should have mentioned it to the executive. I would have done so. I would have said to the executive, 'I have a contract with Blatter which you may criticise. But this is the truth, this is the money I received and you should know about it.' I attend all UEFA executive meetings.

"I never heard about this payment of Blatter to Platini," said Johansson, who lost to Platini in the UEFA presidential election in 2007.

UEFA's 54 member associations will meet in Nyon on Thursday for talks on the crisis.

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