Michel Platini

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Former FIFA official Michel Platini slams VAR

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Disgraced former FIFA official Michel Platini has slammed Video Assistant Review (VAR) in a long interview with French publication L’Equipe.

Platini said VAR “does not bring justice to the game” and said it rendered the on-field official a “puppet.”

“Take the game between France and Croatia at the World Cup,” Platini said to L’Equipe. “The VAR was in use. Yet, on the first goal where France scored from a free kick, I did not think there was a foul by the Croatian team in the build up. Then, on the second goal, it is the VAR director who makes the call rather than the referee himself. The official on the field becomes like a puppet!”

It would seem that Platini’s issue with VAR is not its ability to improve the decision-making in games, but instead its growing pains in how fallible humans adjust to using the technology available to them. “It is always open to interpretation,” Platini said.

Platini continued to share his belief that VAR will open the game to a slippery slope of technology in the game. “Who knows, maybe tomorrow the captains and goalkeepers will have headphones and the Coaches will be able to talk to them and guide them during the game. By doing this, we’ll certainly kill football, like it’s already happened in cycling and F1. We have already killed the referees.”

Platini vows to return to soccer after “end of long nightmare”

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PARIS (AP) Banned former UEFA President and FIFA vice president Michel Platini says he is planning to return to soccer after Swiss federal prosecutors confirmed he was not being charged in an investigation into possible financial wrongdoing.

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Platini says in a statement it’s “the end of a long nightmare for my family and those close to me.”

Since September 2015, the former France midfielder had the status of “between a witness and an accused person” in criminal proceedings opened against then-FIFA President Sepp Blatter. No criminal case was ever opened against Platini.

The evidence related to Blatter authorizing FIFA to pay Platini $2 million in uncontracted back salary in 2011.

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FIFA’s ethics committee also investigated Platini’s request to FIFA for pension contributions he was not entitled to. It was agreed by Blatter and added more than $1 million to Platini’s retirement fund.

Platini was eventually banned for four years, through October 2019. Both he and Blatter denied wrongdoing but Court of Arbitration for Sport judges refused to overturn his ban and that of Blatter’s.

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The case meant Platini was removed from the UEFA presidency and he was barred from trying to succeed Blatter as FIFA president in 2016.

Platini, a former France captain and coach, says “I will come back: where, when, how? It’s too early to say. But I will come back into football.

“Because football is my life and I deny anyone the right to deprive me of my life,” the 62-year-old Platini says.

Platini admits FIFA schemed to keep France, Brazil apart in 1998 World Cup

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Just when you thought FIFA couldn’t go any lower, disgraced former FIFA vice president (and France National Team legend) Michel Platini dropped a bombshell on Friday.

Platini told radio station France Bleu that FIFA and the France World Cup organizing committee set up a “little scam” to ensure that France and Brazil were on opposite sides of the bracket, ensuring a path to the final for both teams. Brazil and France both needed wins on penalty kicks to make it to the finals after cruising through the group stage but France ended up winning its first – and so far only – World Cup on home soil.

“When we organized the calendar, we did a little trickery,” Platini said. “If we finished first in the group and Brazil finished first, we could not meet before the final.”

At the time, there were eight seeded teams in the tournament. While it was supposed to be random as to where each of the seeded teams ended up, France ended up in Group C and Brazil in Group A, and as long as both finished first in the group, they’d be on opposite sides of the knockout stage.

“We did not get bored for six years to organize the World Cup to not do some little shenanigans,” Platini said. “You think that the others did not do it for their World Cup France-Brazil in the final, it was the dream of everyone.”

This jaw-dropping statement was perfectly in line with Sepp Blatter’s FIFA, which allowed countless scandals, fraud and corruption to take place under his watch.

Banned Platini appealing to European Court of Human Rights

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PARIS (AP) Still trying to clear his name, Michel Platini has taken his appeal against a ban from soccer to the European Court of Human Rights.

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Platini, the former France great who was banned by the FIFA ethics committee for financial wrongdoing while he was running for president of the world soccer body, told The Associated Press in an email that he wants his suspension lifted.

The former UEFA president was initially banned for eight years in December 2015. The ethics committee ruled he was not entitled to $2 million in backdated salary that he was paid in 2011 for working from 1998-2002 as adviser to then-FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

That suspension was cut to six years by the FIFA appeals committee, then to four by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. But the 62-year-old Frenchman last month took his case to the French-based court in Strasbourg.

“I want justice back. I haven’t done anything wrong,” Platini said in the email. “I want my integrity to be acknowledged. With this plea to the European Court of Human Rights, I am contesting all of the sanctions from FIFA and CAS. I will not give up.”

In July, Switzerland’s supreme court dismissed an appeal by the former FIFA vice president against the four-year ban imposed by CAS.

Platini and Blatter claimed they had a verbal agreement over the lump sum but were banned by FIFA for a conflict of interest. The evidence included Blatter’s attempt to increase Platini’s FIFA pension fund with more than $1 million he was not entitled to.

The case removed Platini from the UEFA presidency and the February 2016 FIFA election to succeed Blatter.

“I consider myself to be a victim, not only of an injustice, but also a political conspiracy by FIFA to stop me becoming president of this institution,” Platini said. “I was a threat for the positions, the interests and the privileges of many people in FIFA.”

Platini, a celebrated midfielder with France and Juventus during his heyday as a player in the 1980s, is suspended until October 2019.

“I am fighting first of all for my honor and against injustice. I want my innocence to be recognized, that’s my absolute priority,” Platini said. “For the moment I don’t know what I’ll be doing after October 2019.”

Platini said he has been approached to do television work for this year’s World Cup in Russia, but is not in a position to accept.

“I have received some offers for the World Cup,” Platini said, “but I remind you that I’m banned from working in football by FIFA.”

Michel Platini insists his conscience is clear in farewell speech to UEFA

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) Michel Platini insisted his conscience was clear and he would continue the fight to overturn a FIFA ban in a farewell speech on Wednesday to European soccer leaders before his successor as UEFA president was elected.

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Platini was allowed by FIFA’s ethics judge to deliver the UEFA congress address as a “gesture of humanity,” despite serving a four-year suspension from any role in soccer over an improper payment.

Emerging from his FIFA-enforced exile, Platini used the platform in Athens to highlight his achievements since assuming the UEFA presidency in 2007 and issue advice to the next head of European soccer.

There was applause from UEFA delegates but no standing ovation after Platini completed his address by declaring: “Friends of football, farewell.”

Before then, without detailing the specifics of the wrongdoing, Platini insisted there was nothing improper about taking a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million) from FIFA in 2011.

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“Be assured that I have a clear conscience, that I’m convinced I did not make the slightest mistake, and that I’m continuing the legal battle,” Platini told an audience which included FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “I want to thank everyone in this room who had the courage and loyalty to support me during the past months.”

The 61-year-old Platini expected to have vacated the presidency by now to be serving as FIFA leader. But the ethics ban allowed Infantino, his former UEFA administrator, to assume Platini’s self-proclaimed destiny to run world soccer.

This is a juddering end to a decades-long career in soccer, with Platini going from winning titles with Juventus and France to becoming one of the sport’s most powerful leaders before being brought down in disgrace last year.

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Platini’s four-year term through 2019 will be completed by Slovenian federation leader Aleksander Ceferin, who won the election later Wednesday in the Greek capital.

Platini told the candidates that “football is a game before a product, a sport before a market, a show before a market.”

“For millions of people around the world, football is … a flame,” Platini said. “We have done much together for nine years to develop and preserve this flame.”

After expressing confidence that football is “on the right track,” Platini warned that “serious abuses” are still undermining the sport.

“Continue to balance sports realities and economic interests,” he said.

Rob Harris is at http://www.twitter.com/RobHarris and http://www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports