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Why the FIFA ethics committee wants Michel Platini banned for life

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With so many indictments, proceedings and investigations going on inside the walls of FIFA's swanky Zurich headquarters, it may be difficult to find out why their ethics committee wants to ban Michel Platini for life.

Indeed, the current head of UEFA is still aiming to succeed Sepp Blatter as president of the stricken organisation, yet now faces a lifetime in the cold and unforgiving football wilderness.

So what exactly has happened? Why is a 60-year-old French footballing legend currently the topic on everyone's lips? Here we run down the story for you in terms that we can all understand.

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What has happened today?

This should be made abundantly clear: FIFA's ethics committee has not come out and said they want to ban Platini for life.

The claim has been made by the Frenchman's lawyer, Thibaut d'Ales, who believes that is what they are trying to do. As it stands, we don't know for sure. The only word we have to go on is from a lawyer and as Jim Carrey once hilariously taught us, lawyers struggle to live without lying.

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D'Ales told L'Equipe: "This ban is subject to corruption being proved but it is clearly a disproportionate punishment.

"In releasing this, there is clearly a desire to harm. The masks are slipping one by one in FIFA, the electoral calendar is being manipulated and there is a strategy to eliminate Platini as a candidate."

Why is it all happening?

Let us rewind to a simpler time for Mr Platini. It was September 26 and he was the outright favourite to replace Blatter when the controversial Swiss finally stepped down. Then the bomb dropped. Swiss authorities opened criminal proceedings against both Blatter and Platini over a payment of £1.35m from the former to the latter in 2011.

The payment was described as "disloyal" in nature, meaning Blatter was acting against the best interests of FIFA, which he was legally obliged to protect. This payment was made “at the expense of Fifa” for services Platini had allegedly provided between January 1999 and June 2002. The reason he was not paid was because FIFA could not afford to do so, or so it is claimed.

But the payment was not delivered until February 2011; coincidentally just three months after Qatar had won the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, who Platini voted for. It was also shortly after Platini reversed his decision to run against Blatter in FIFA elections, instead backing his would-be opponent towards another victory.

The reason for the payment is what they could be in serious trouble for. Platini was still heavily involved in FIFA and was sworn to act in their best interests, just like Blatter. If it turns out to be anything other than payment for legitimate services then a guilty charge is likely and a lifetime ban for both will follow.

Can he still be president?

Yes. Rather unbelievably Platini is still listed as a candidate for upcoming elections for the new FIFA president. Elections will take place on 26 February 2016 and Platini managed to get his required five nominations submitted just minutes before the ban was announced. Very convenient. 

However, he will be scrapped from the shortlist if he receives any kind of ban from the ethics committee, lifetime or not. Even if he makes it to elections, he could hardly call himself the man to reform FIFA, can he?

Are we all clear now? No? Well then I give up.

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