Michel Platini resigned as UEFA president on Monday, after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected the Frenchman’s bid to overturn a six-year ban from working in football.
The CAS, which is Sport’s final court of appeal, in a statement effectively removed Mr. Platini from world soccer by ensuring his ban “corresponds to the duration of a presidential term.”
Platini called the verdict a “deep injustice” and said he will now step down from the UEFA position he has held since 2007.
In a statement he said:
“This decision is inflicting upon me a suspension whose length will de facto prevent me—as if by chance—from bidding for the next FIFA presidential election. I accept today’s decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport but I consider it a profound injustice.
“As agreed with the national associations, I resign as president of UEFA. Life has always kept beautiful surprises for me, now I am free to live them.”
His decision to leave UEFA will free him to pursue an appeal in Switzerland and ‘establish his integrity in the case’. Switzerland’s supreme court can overturn verdicts if legal process is abused but won’t rejudge the evidence.
The 60-year old, sanctioned over a $2 million payment he received from FIFA, got a CAS ruling that effectively leaves him unable to engage in any football-related activity at national or international level, although CAS did cut a FIFA sentence and fine imposed on Platini from 6 years to 4 years and from $82,500 to $62,000, respectively.
The court ruled that Mr. Platini was guilty of a conflict of interest for taking a $2 million payment from FIFA approved by Sepp Blatter in 2011. The money was uncontracted extra salary for working as Mr. Blatter’s presidential adviser from 1999-2002, and was largely unknown until it was revealed by Swiss federal prosecutors last September.
Blatter and Platini were provisionally suspended by the FIFA ethics committee last October, then banned for eight years. FIFA’s appeal panel however, cut two years off their sanctions in February as reward for their long service to the sport.
Mr. Platini’s current UEFA mandate expires in March 2019, and the next FIFA presidential election is due in May 2019.
The UEFA executive committee will meet next week in Basel, Switzerland, on the sidelines of the Europa League final to discuss replacing Mr. Platini. An election is likely in mid-September at meetings of European soccer leaders in Athens, Greece.