UEFA president Michel Platini finds it “shameful to be dragged through the mud” and insists he is “the only one who can ensure that FIFA again becomes the home of football”, despite his 90-day suspension from all football-related activity.
The Frenchman’s hopes of succeeding Sepp Blatter as FIFA president appear to be in tatters after the pair, along with secretary general Jerome Valcke, were earlier this month handed provisional 90-day bans by the world governing body’s ethics committee while it continues its investigations.
In an interview with French newspaper Le Monde, Platini said: “I was suspended for three months, but what annoys me the most is to be put in the same bag as the others. I find it shameful to be dragged through the mud.
“For the rest, my lawyers follow FIFA procedures and will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if necessary.”
The most important investigations surround a €1.83m payment Blatter authorised be made to Platini by FIFA in 2011.
Neither have fully explained the reason for the nine-year delay in being paid for work Platini carried out as Blatter’s technical advisor from 1999 to 2002.
“The story may seem surprising, but that is that,” Platini said.
“In 1998, I was president of the World Cup organising committee and a new FIFA president was due to be elected.
“I am in Singapore and Blatter wants to see me in his room. He immediately throws me – ’so, here, we go or not?’ He told me that (former FIFA president Joao) Havelange said to him, ’Blatter and Platini, president and secretary general, is a very elegant solution’. Only for me, it does not interest me.
“I am (organising) the World Cup. I do not see (it as a position for) me. Blatter then decided to say: ’I will put myself forward, but I need you. See you in two months’.
“He asked me to be his advisor on football. It was agreed. ’How much do you want?’, asked Blatter. I answer, ’A million’. ’Of what?’ ’From what you want - roubles, books, dollars?’. At this time, there is not yet the euro. He responds, ’Okay, one million Swiss francs per year’.”
Platini suggested Blatter wants to “kill” him politically, but says he retains “a little affection” for the 79-year-old Swiss.
“I admired his policy,” the 60-year-old three-time Ballon d’Or winner said.
“He has a lot of charm and I can say that I was somehow bewitched. Even if he wants to kill me politically, I still have a little affection for what we experienced together.”
The 90-day suspension can also be extended by a further 45 days, taking it up until just six days before the FIFA presidential election is due on February 26.
But Platini maintains he and he alone is the man capable of turning things around from the top.
“I am the only one who can ensure that FIFA again becomes the home of football,” he said.
“But, whenever I approach the sun, like Icarus, it burns everywhere.”