By Simon Evans
NYON, Switzerland (Reuters) – European football associations will decide next week whether to pick another candidate from UEFA, as an alternative to their suspended president Michel Platini, to stand in February’s election for president of FIFA, a source told Reuters on Thursday.
Platini and FIFA president Sepp Blatter were given a 90-day ban by the FIFA Ethics Committee last week, pending a full investigation into both men’s activities, in the latest twist to the scandal which has engulfed FIFA and international football. On Thursday UEFA’s 54 members met at the organisation’s headquarters to discuss Platini’s situation and issued a statement supporting his “right to a due process and fair trial and the opportunity to clear his name”.
The Frenchman’s suspension relates to a 2011 payment of two million Swiss francs from Blatter’s FIFA to Platini for work he completed in 2002. Platini has denied any wrongdoing and appealed the Ethics Committee decision.
Platini is standing in the FIFA presidential election due to be held on Feb 26, although the ban could severely hamper his chances of passing an integrity test which is part of the electoral process.
“We agreed to support Platini and to the statement issued by UEFA,” the source, from a UEFA national association, who did not wish to be named because he was not authorised to discuss the meeting’s discussions told Reuters. “But we will decide next week on whether to back a European candidate in the election,” he added, saying that there were several options as alternatives to Platini.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; editing by Ralph Boulton)