European soccer head Michel Platini said he won’t attend this week’s hearing by FIFA’s ethics panel into a 2 million Swiss franc ($2 million) payment he got from Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, the suspended president of the sport’s governing body.
Platini, the head of UEFA, said the investigation wasn’t being started with a presumption of innocence in his case, and that the Dec. 18 hearing was part of a procedure to prevent him from running to replace Blatter. He released his comments in an e-mailed statement.
Last week, Platini failed to overturn a 90-day ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Blatter, who’s overseen FIFA for nearly two decades, and Platini were suspended from all soccer activities after Swiss prosecutors opened an investigation into the delayed payment from Blatter.
FIFA’s ethics panel said in a statement that Platini’s lawyers can still give his case without him in attendance, and by skipping the hearing, he was missing a chance to present his defense.