English Football Association Suspends Backing for Michel Platini as FIFA Head

  • English F.A. has concerns about ethics case against Frenchman
  • Platini is running to replace Blatter as president of FIFA

English soccer’s governing body suspended its support for campaign of the sport’s European boss, Michel Platini, because of accusations he received a 2 million Swiss franc ($2.1 million) payment from global soccer head Joseph “Sepp” Blatter.

Football Association officials learned more about the accusations against the Frenchman at Thursday’s meeting of UEFA, the regional soccer body. While the information must remain confidential, the F.A. said, it must refrain from supporting the UEFA president’s run to take over FIFA’s top job until the end of the investigation being conducted by Swiss prosecutors.

Michel Platini

Photographer: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

“As a result of learning this information, The F.A. Board has on Friday morning concluded that it must suspend its support for Mr. Platini’s candidature for the FIFA Presidency until the legal process has been concluded and the position is clear,” it said Friday on its website. The FIFA election is scheduled for Feb. 26.

UEFA’s board said yesterday that Platini had a right to clear his name, and the English F.A. agreed Friday. The move by UEFA gives the 60-year-old Frenchman time to try to salvage his campaign to become the next head of the sport’s global organization, FIFA.

Platini and Blatter were suspended following the opening of a criminal investigation into the FIFA head by the Swiss attorney general, who is looking at the 2011 payment to Platini.

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