The Uefa president Michel Platini insists he is “the only one who can ensure that Fifa again becomes the home of football” despite currently serving a 90-day suspension from all football-related activity.
The Frenchman’s hopes of succeeding Sepp Blatter as the Fifa president appear to have evaporated after the pair, along with the general secretary Jérôme Valcke, were handed 90-day bans by the world governing body’s ethics committee over a payment for 2.6 million Swiss francs paid by Blatter to Platini in 2011. Both men deny any wrongdoing and have appealed against their suspensions.
Fifa is to hold an extraordinary executive committee meeting on Tuesday to reportedly discuss the postponement of the presidential election scheduled for 26 February next year.
In an interview with Le Monde, Platini said: “I was suspended for three months, but what annoys me the most is to be put in the same bag as the others. I find it shameful to be dragged through the mud. For the rest, my lawyers follow Fifa procedures and will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if necessary.”
Platini has been unable to explain the nine-year delay in being paid for work he claims he carried out as Blatter’s consultant from 1999 to 2002.
“The story may seem surprising, but that is that,” Platini said. “In 1998, I was president of the World Cup organising committee and a new Fifa president was due to be elected.
“I am in Singapore and Blatter wants to see me in his room. He immediately throws me – ‘so, here, we go or not?’ He told me that [the former Fifa president João] Havelange said to him, ‘Blatter and Platini, president and secretary general, is a very elegant solution’. Only for me, it does not interest me.
“I am [organising] the World Cup. I do not see [it as a position for] me. Blatter then decided to say: ‘I will put myself forward, but I need you. See you in two months.’ He asked me to be his advisor on football. It was agreed. ‘How much do you want?’, asked Blatter. I answer, ‘A million’. ‘Of what?’ ‘From what you want – roubles, books, dollars?’. At this time, there is not yet the euro. He responds, ‘OK, one million Swiss francs per year’.”
Platini suggested Blatter “wants to kill him politically”, but says he retains “a little affection” for the 79-year-old Swiss.
“I admired his policy,” the 60-year-old said. “He has a lot of charm and I can say that I was somehow bewitched. Even if he wants to kill me politically, I still have a little affection for what we experienced together.”
Despite the suspension, Platini maintains he is the only person capable of reviving Fifa’s tattered reputation.
“I am the only one who can ensure that Fifa again becomes the home of football,” he said. “But, whenever I approach the sun, like Icarus, it burns everywhere.”