A Swiss-based sports court has upheld a suspension imposed on UEFA boss Michel Platini by football's world governing body, FIFA. The decision is a further blow to the Frenchman's aspirations of becoming FIFA president.
The Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne on Friday upheld the 90-day provisional suspension imposed on UEFA President Michel Platini over corruption allegations back in October. At the same time, though, the court ordered FIFA's Ethics Committee not to extend Platini's provisional suspension for a further 45 days, as it has the power to do under its statutes.
In the ruling, posted on the court's website, the CAS said that a panel of three judges had "determined that maintaining the provisional suspension for the remainder of the 90 days does not cause irreparable harm to Michel Platini at this point in time."
It noted that FIFA's Ethics Committee had pledged to hand down its final decision by January 5, when Platini's provisional ban is to expire. The judges added that, even if Platini's ban were lifted immediately, there was no guarantee that FIFA's ad hoc electoral committee would validate his candidacy for FIFA's presidential election before January 5.
Blow to candidacy
The court's failure to lift the ban is seen as a blow to a bid by Platini, who is also a FIFA vice president, to succeed FIFA President Sepp Blatter at an extraordinary FIFA congress to be held in Zurich on February 26. On the other hand though, it ordered FIFA to refrain from extending the ban, something which would have immediately ruled out his candidacy.
It said the judges had determined that "such an extension would constitute an undue and unjustified restriction of Michel Platini’s right of access to justice, cause irreparable harm to him and also tip the balance of interest test in his favor. As a consequence, the CAS Panel ordered FIFA not to extend the current provisional suspension imposed on Michel Platini."
Both Platini and Blatter were provisionally suspended by FIFA on October 8 pending a full investigation into a payment of two million Swiss francs (1.84 millio euros, $1.97 million) made by Blatter to Platini in 2011.
Switzerland's attorney general has also opened a criminal investigation into the matter.