Michel Platini to boycott FIFA ethics committee hearing in show of 'outrage'

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UEFA president Michel Platini will not attend Friday's FIFA ethics committee hearing as he believes his fate has already been decided.

Platini and outgoing FIFA president Blatter, who were suspended by FIFA's ethics committee for 90 days on October 8, fac e hearings before FIFA ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert in Zurich later this week over a ?1.3million payment made to Platini by FIFA in 2011.

The Frenchman's candidacy for the FIFA presidency was frozen at the time of his suspension, with the vote scheduled to take place on February 26 in Zurich.

In a statement to L'Equipe, Platini's lawyers said: "With this decision (to boycott his hearing), Michel Platini intends to express his profound outrage at a procedure which he considers to have been designed to prevent him from running for president of FIFA."

The newspaper added that Platini reckoned a verdict had "already been announced by the press", referring to Andreas Bantel - a spokesman for the investigatory chamber of FIFA - who said last Friday: "Platini will certainly be suspended for several years."

Blatter's case will be heard on Thursday with Platini's following on Friday, with a decision expected on Monday next week.

It was revealed on Tuesday that Blatter had written to FIFA's 209 member associations protesting his innocence ahead of Thursday's hearing.

The 79-year-old called the ethics committee "tendentious and dangerous" and also claimed the proceedings against him have been like "the Inquisition".

Blatter wrote to the associations saying: "I am bewildered by the insinuations and allegations brought against me by the investigatory chamber of ethics committee.

"However, the way in which the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee has communicated on the current proceedings, demanded the maximum penalty and reinforced public prejudgement has reached a tendentious and dangerous dimension.

"These proceedings remind me of the Inquisition.

"I will continue to fight for my rights and at the end of this week I will present my case before the adjudicatory chamber with great conviction and a strong belief in justice."

Blatter and Platini face charges including corruption, conflict of interest and non-cooperation. Sources with knowledge of the case say that it will be difficult to prove corruption, which carries a lifetime ban, but believe there is clear evidence of a conflict of interest in the payment being made.

The 2million Swiss franc payment was made to Platini in February 2011. The Frenchman and Blatter say the payment was honouring an agreement made in 1998 for work carried out between 1998 and 2002 when Platini worked as a technical advisor for the FIFA president.

However, the payment was not part of Platini's written contract - they have insisted that it was a verbal agreement which is legal under Swiss law.

The timing of the payment has raised eyebrows, though. It took place nine years after Platini had stopped working for FIFA, and was made while Blatter was seeking support for a fourth term as president. Several weeks after the payment was made, Platini and UEFA's executive committee endorsed his candidacy.

Blatter says in his letter that one of the values passed on to him by his parents was to always pay off his debts.

He adds of the Platini payment: "I can assure you that it was legal because it was based on a verbal agreement. And agreements must be adhered to.

"This payment was put through the full administrative process, the correctness of which was confirmed by all competent FIFA bodies including the Congress."


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