Beleaguered UEFA President Michel Platini must be a lucky man; he has just being thrown at another lifeline. FIFA Ethics committee have announced their intentions to wrap up the on-going investigation by end of December 2015.
In October both Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini were suspended from partaking on all football related activities for a period of 90 days. This stems out of a purported financial misconduct, wherein FIFA president Sepp Blatter sanctioned a payment of at least 1.3million pounds to Michel Platini.
Platini was at pains trying to explain the mystery payment made out to him by FIFA. In the midst of spinning around the negative bad publicity pertaining to the payment, Platini mention this was money due to him for work carried out at FIFA between 1998 and 2002.
In another twist the suspended UEFA president confirmed receiving the money for work done as a ‘special advisor’ to Sepp Blatter. He further reiterated there had been an agreement for him to receive an amount of 300 000 Swiss francs per year from 1998 – 2002.
Apparently Platini requested more money, but however Sepp Blatter representing FIFA pleaded poverty and the two men entered into a ‘gentlemen agreement’ to effect a payment at a time when FIFA finances are in good health. The inconsistencies around the payment forced major European football association to withdraw their support to back Platini as a FIFA presidential candidate, until such time they receive real, concrete and understandable information around the payment.
Fast forward 9 years later Platini finally got paid all monies due, and the timing of this raised more eyebrows and left many questions unanswered. But why after such a long time?
The crux of the matter is Platini received the money in order for him to step aside and not challenge the incumbent FIFA president to the throne. This caught many people within football who had thought Platini was vying for the top position at FIFA HQ.
Boardroom deals and concessions between the two camps were entered into, where Platini got anointed and promised the top FIFA seat as and when Sepp Blatter steps aside.
With Blatter most certainly out of the picture for being elected president at the FIFA congress in February 2016, Platini was almost guaranteed to occupy the top seat at the helm of FIFA until he was put on ice by the ethics committee.
Should the ethics committee rule in favour of dropping charges against Platini, this would put him back into the FIFA presidential battle pending an outcome of the integrity checks. The chain of event is likely to see the current UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino withdrawing from the race, to give space for his boss to challenge for the job.
Whether Platini would receive positive outcomes off the integrity checks remains a mystery or a well-guarded secret thereof.
And it will be very interesting to see how FIFA would go about spinning this one. As we’re all aware Musa Billity was unable to reach the FIFA presidential ballot due to his negative not-so good integrity records.
The jury is still out for the FIFA ethics committee to come out and give the public the inside information about the criteria followed and used to determine eligibility of a particular candidate to hold office top FIFA office.
At this point in time only the ethics committee are turning out to be real king makers apart from the 209 voting football association, within this hotly contested FIFA presidential race.