By Simon Evans
MIAMI (Reuters) – Banned UEFA president Michel Platini could face further investigation from FIFA’s Ethics Committee after attending an awards ceremony and conference in Dubai despite being barred from “all football activity”.
Platini, the head of European soccer body UEFA, was handed an eight year ban from the game by FIFA’s Ethics Committee on December 21, along with banned FIFA president Sepp Blatter. He is appealing the decision and insists he has done no wrong.
The ban relates to a payment of two million Swiss francs made by Blatter’s FIFA to Platini in 2011, nine years after he finished working as a consultant to Blatter.
On December 27, Platini attended the Globe Soccer Awards organised by the Dubai Sports Council in Dubai, along with soccer stars such as Argentine Lionel Messi and Italian Andrea Pirlo.
Frenchman Platini was photographed at the event and also made comments regarding his ban to the Italian media while in Dubai.
A spokesman for FIFA’s Ethics Committee declined to comment on the specific case but said: “In general terms: The Investigatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee of FIFA investigates any alleged breach of the Ethics Code of FIFA.”
A spokesman for Platini did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The December 21 ruling from FIFA Ethics Committee chair Hans-Joachim Eckert stated that Blatter and Platini were banned “for eight years from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) on a national and international level. The bans come into force immediately.”
Platini has said he will fight the ban through the appeals process, which is likely to end up with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, and has also been fiercely critical of the decision and the Ethics Committee itself. Blatter has also said he will appeal.
FIFA has been thrown into crisis by investigations from the FBI and Department of Justice in the United States and Swiss authorities.
The Swiss Attorney General has opened a criminal investigation into Blatter regarding the payment to Platini. The Frenchman is viewed as “somewhere between a witness and an accused person” according to the Attorney General Michael Lauber.
In the United States, prosecutors have indicted 27 current or former soccer officials, including eight ex-FIFA Executive Committee members and the current heads of both the North and South American federations, over allegations they ran bribery schemes connected to the sale of TV rights for football competitions.
(Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Michael Perry)