The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday (9 May) reduced suspended UEFA President Michel Platini’s six-year ban from soccer for ethics violations to four years, saying the original punishment from FIFA was too severe, but didn’t cancel the suspension itself, saying Michel Platini had “breached FIFA’s ethics code.”
“In the arbitration between Michel Platini and FIFA, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has decided to partially uphold the appeal of Michel Platini and to lower his suspension from six to four years. The fine is also reduced from (US $82,352 to US $61,764),” CAS’s secretary-general Matthieu Reeb told reporters, reading a statement on the decision.
“The CAS determined that Michel Platini has breached the FIFA code of ethics, as he obtained an undue advantage and was guilty of a conflict of interest. The CAS arbitrators considered however that the suspension imposed by FIFA was too severe and decided to reduce it to four years, which corresponds to the duration of a presidential term.”
“The arbitrators have also noted that if Michel Platini had waited for eight years to claim the payment of an alleged back pay, FIFA was already aware of the situation in 2011, and initiated an investigation in 2015 only,” he added.
One of the finest players of his generation who went on to become a powerful sporting official, Frenchman Platini had been suspended after his dealings with fallen world football chief Sepp Blatter dragged him into the scandal which engulfed soccer governing body FIFA.
During his appeal hearing ten days ago, Platini said he recognized that his long, illustrious career in the game would be over if he lost an appeal over the ban.
“The suspension imposed by FIFA started in October 2015 and will continue for four years, so until 2019, which means that Michel Platini remains banned from any football related activity, both nationally and internationally,” Reeb said, adding that this included any involvement in this summer’s European Championships in France.
Platini can appeal this decision to the Swiss Federal Court but the latter can’t make any new ruling on the merits of the case.
“An appeal is possible for limited grounds like the violation of the right to be heard, or incorrect constitution of the arbitral panel. But the Federal Tribunal cannot review the decision on the merits, it means that the factual elements which will be in the decision may not be reviewed at all by the Federal Tribunal,” Reeb insisted.
The ruling means that the European Football body UEFA, which has not replaced Platini since he was initially banned in October, will have to elect a new president.
Platini has already announced in a statement his decision to resign in the coming days.