Banned European Soccer Chief Platini in Negotiations Over PayoffBy
Michel Platini’s advisers say he should be paid for successes
Platini and ex-FIFA head Blatter banned over improper payment
Michel Platini, the former head of European soccer governing body UEFA, may receive a payoff even though he’s been banned from the sport after being implicated in a scandal that led to the fall of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
UEFA, which last week elected little known Slovenian lawyer Aleksander Ceferin as Platini’s replacement, has been in talks about a financial agreement for several months with advisers to Platini, whose mandate had been due to run through 2019. His annual salary was about 2 million Swiss francs ($2.1 million), according to a person familiar with the discussions who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private.
“The overall matter of his remuneration since his suspension will be addressed by the UEFA Executive Committee in due course following advice and proposals from the newly formed UEFA Compensation Committee and legal experts,” UEFA said in an e-mailed statement.
Platini, 61, one of the best players of his generation in the 1970s and ’80s, is serving a four-year ban from soccer-related activity after a FIFA ethics panel last year ruled he received an improper payment from Blatter in 2011. Platini has vowed to clear his name, having had the original eight-year ban halved on appeal. A Swiss criminal investigation into the payment continues.
Under Swiss law UEFA is under no obligation to provide Platini with a payoff, though several soccer officials in the region are sympathetic to rewarding the Frenchman for his achievements since being first elected UEFA head in 2007, according to the person familiar with the matter. His advisers have cited UEFA’s successful centralization of the sale of national team TV rights and his efforts to curb the debt of European clubs through the creation of so-called “financial fair play” rules.
A spokesman for Platini did not respond to a call or an e-mailed request for comment.
A deal was close before Ceferin’s elevation at the meeting last week in Athens, where FIFA’s ethics judge permitted Platini to make a farewell address at an extraordinary meeting. Platini’s former No. 2 at UEFA, Gianni Infantino, was picked to lead global governing body FIFA in February.
UEFA has tightened its rules since Platini’s exit. His salary and benefits were set without a formal process. Ceferin’s pay will be decided by a remuneration panel that includes soccer officials Marios Lefkaritis of Cyprus and Herbert Hubel from Austria.
Platini told UEFA members in his speech that he was “convinced I did not make the slightest mistake,” before thanking the soccer heads “who had the courage and loyalty to support me during the past months.”