ZURICH (Reuters) – Former UEFA president Lennart Johansson says that the European football body was never told about the payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.1 million) from Sepp Blatter to current UEFA boss Michel Platini.
Both Platini and Blatter were suspended from football for 90 days by FIFA’s Ethics Committee last week with a 2011 payment from FIFA to Blatter under scrutiny. Both men deny any wrongdoing.
Platini has said the payment was for work he carried out under a contract for FIFA as an advisor to Blatter between 1999 and 2002. He said the nine year delay in payment was due to FIFA’s financial situation.
The Frenchman’s bid to replace Blatter at the helm of FIFA in February’s election has been thrown into serious doubt by the affair and UEFA members gather in Nyon on Thursday to discuss the crisis.
Swede Johansson, who was UEFA president from 1990 to 2007 says that the FIFA executive committee, which he served on, was not told about Platini’s hiring by Blatter.
“I was a member of the FIFA executive then and Blatter should have reported it to the executive but he never did. I never heard about this arrangement in FIFA.
“This is quite a lot of money, not a small amount. I have only learnt through the media that Platini claims that he has a contract with FIFA,” the 85-year-old told the website Inside World Football.
By the time Platini received the payment in 2011 he had replaced Johansson as UEFA president but the Swede continued to attend UEFA executive meetings as honorary president, and he says the payment was never disclosed.
“I would have expected this payment to be reported to UEFA. Platini should have mentioned it to the executive. I would have done so. I would have said to the executive, ‘I have a contract with Blatter which you may criticise. But this is the truth, this is the money I received and you should know about it.'”
A spokesman for Platini said: “The president is cooperating fully with the ongoing investigations and feels there is nothing more he wants to say publicly for the moment.”
The payments will be on the agenda at UEFA’s crisis meeting in Nyon which Platini will unable to attend due to his suspension from all football activities.
($1 = 0.9589 Swiss francs)
(By Simon Evans, Editing by Jon Boyle)