Platini loses appeal of his four-year FIFA ban

Photo by Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images
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GENEVA — Michel Platini has lost his appeal at the European Court of Human Rights to overturn a four-year ban from soccer for taking a $2 million payment from FIFA.

The unanimous ruling by seven judges to declare Platini’s application inadmissible was published on Thursday by the court in Strasbourg, France.

Aspects of the France great and former UEFA president’s appeal were “manifestly ill-founded,” the court said in a statement.

“The court found in particular that, having regard to the seriousness of the misconduct, the senior position held by Mr. Platini in football’s governing bodies and the need to restore the reputation of the sport and of FIFA, the sanction did not appear excessive or arbitrary,” the court said.

It’s a fifth legal defeat for Platini after the evidence and fairness of the case was found proven by FIFA’s ethics and appeals committees, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and Switzerland’s supreme court.

The allegations that emerged against Platini in September 2015 ended his FIFA presidential campaign to succeed Sepp Blatter and removed him from office as UEFA president.

The former FIFA vice president now must pay soccer’s world body a fine of $62,800 to be eligible for an active role in soccer. Platini said in October he would not pay while the European ruling was pending.

Platini was linked to an advisory role with the French president of the global players’ union FIFPro, which distanced itself from the speculation in January.

The case related to a $2 million payment to Platini in 2011, authorized by FIFA’s then-president Blatter as uncontracted salary for work as an adviser a decade earlier. Blatter is serving a six-year ban.

Platini’s four-year ban, reduced from six at a 2016 appeal case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, expired in October.

The European court said Platini challenged the CAS judgment on three grounds: Right to a fair hearing, that FIFA rules had been used retrospectively against him, and that the ban was excessive.

Platini and Blatter are being pursued by FIFA to recover the $2 million through a civil court claim in Switzerland.

FIFA said in December any money recovered, plus interest, would be “fully channelled back into football development, which is where the money should have gone in the first place.”

In a separate legal suit announced last November, Platini is claiming up to $3 million from UEFA as salary and bonuses due in his contract as president.