Platini kicking around slowly with comeback

Sports | ASSOCIATED PRESS 9 Oct 2019

Four years after a ban thwarted his chances of being Fifa president Michel Platini can return to football.

But the former Uefa chief once seen as heir apparent to Fifa's Sepp Blatter is unsure when he may return to a game that ruled his life even after his playing career with France.

And any return to a top role would likely force him to first pay governing body Fifa a fine of 60,000 Swiss francs (HK$475,000) levied three years ago.

Platini is challenging the fine and disputing claims that led to his four-year ban from all football activities. Charges of receiving an irregular payment and wrongful pension entitlement derailed Platini's hopes of succeeding Blatter as Fifa head.

Platini, 64, said he is keeping all his options open but pointed out the next elections for top roles at Fifa, European governing body Uefa and the French FA are "some years ahead.''

Platini, who captained and coached the national team and organized the 1998 World Cup won by France, added: "I have time.''

His current focus is on fighting allegations already upheld by two Fifa judicial bodies, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Switzerland's supreme court.

Platini has challenged the Swiss federal ruling at the European Court of Human Rights, and "that means I don't pay this fine" until a ruling is made.

That legal fight and unpaid fine could cause Fifa to impede his return.

"They will try to use what they [can] so I don't come back,'' Platini said of Fifa, which has been led since 2016 by his former general secretary at Uefa, Gianni Infantino.

Blatter is serving a six-year Fifa ban for authorizing a US$2 million (HK$15.5 million) payout to Platini in 2011 for work as his adviser 10 years earlier. Blatter also approved extending Platini's Fifa pension plan to add more than US$1 million by 2015.

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