UEFA president Michel Platini’s ban from football has been reduced from six years to four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Platini and former FIFA president Sepp Blatter were initially given eight years by world football’s governing body over a two million Swiss francs payment, worth around £1.4m at current exchange rates, made by Blatter to Platini in 2011.
That December ruling was reduced to six years by a FIFA appeal panel in February and has now been reduced again by CAS, but the Lausanne-based court has backed FIFA’s judgment that the payment was “unfair” and a “conflict of interests”.
A spokesman for Platini’s lawyer has already confirmed that the 60-year-old Frenchman will now resign as UEFA president, a position he has held since 2007.
The three-man CAS panel, chaired by Italian Luigi Fumagalli, heard all the evidence in the case afresh in eight hours of testimony on April 29.
Blatter and Platini have always maintained that the payment was back-pay for consultancy work the former France and Juventus star did between 1998 and 2002, and it was based on a “gentleman’s agreement”.
They have repeatedly claimed that Blatter agreed to pay Platini an annual salary of one million Swiss francs, worth £700,000 now.
But CAS could only find evidence of a contract for 300,000 Swiss francs and noted that the 2011 payment came more than eight years after Platini’s work at FIFA had finished, but four months before Blatter won the 2011 presidential election.
CAS said “it was not convinced by the legitimacy of this payment” and said Platini also “benefited from the extension of a pension plan to which he was not entitled”.