European Court of Human Rights dismisses Michel Platini's appeal

Michel Platini, August 25, 2016, at the Lausanne Arbitration Tribunal for Sport.
Michel Platini, August 25, 2016, at the Lausanne Arbitration Tribunal for Sport. ALAIN GROSCLAUDE / AFP

The decision was eagerly awaited by Michel Platini. According to our sources, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg on Thursday (March 5th) dismissed the appeal filed in December 2017 by the former president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

This decision does not completely mark the end of the legal counterattack of the former number 10 of the Blues – an investigation is still underway in Switzerland – but it constitutes a setback for the one who has been constantly, for almost four years, to obtain his rehabilitation and to demonstrate that he was the victim of a plot on the part of several players in world football.

Suspended from all football activities until October 2019 by the International Football Federation (FIFA), Mr. Platini decided to take the case outside of Switzerland, where he had exhausted all avenues of appeal against his sanction. This suspension was "Justified", considered the ECHR.

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The Frenchman was struck off for eight years in December 2015 by the FIFA ethics committee due to a payment "Disloyal", according to the Public Prosecutor's Office of the Swiss Confederation (MPC), of 2 million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros) that made to him, in 2011, the president of FIFA Sepp Blatter. His penalty was reduced to six years by the FIFA appeal committee, and then to four years, in May 2016, by the Lausanne Arbitration Tribunal for Sport (CAS).

Forced to withdraw his candidacy for the presidency of FIFA before the election of 26 February 2016, Mr. Platini had been heard as a witness assisted by the MPC, and then dismissed in May 2018 by a letter from the Swiss public prosecutor's office in the business of paying the 2 million Swiss francs. Unlike Sepp Blatter, himself suspended six years by FIFA, the ex-number 10 of the Blues then appealed to the Swiss Federal Court, which had dismissed him, in July 2017.

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Several "violations" of European law targeted by the Platini camp

"I contest by this appeal to the ECHR all the FIFA sanction procedures and the CAS arbitration", assured the World the former UEFA boss after filing his appeal.

“Mr. Platini, in a very documented way, expects the ECHR to sanction Switzerland for having allowed jurisdictional bodies to act on its territory, in particular the ethics committee and the appeals committee of FIFA, but also the CAS , who seriously lack independence from the FIFA executive ”, explained in 2018 William Bourdon and Bertrand Repolt, lawyers for the ex-captain and coach of the Blues.

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In his application filed on 26 December 2017 with the ECHR, Michel Platini first referred to the violation of Article 6.1 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the right to a fair trial. He targeted Trinidadian lawyer Vanessa Allard, who had examined his case for the FIFA ethics committee. Before requesting a suspension for life, she had asked, on October 5, 2015, for a provisional sanction against the French, two days before the deadline which had been set for him to communicate documents for his defense.

Spokesman for the investigating chamber of the Ethics Committee and the FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee, Andreas Bantel was accused of having "Made statements to the press which were indicative of an investigation conducted exclusively against him, without respect for the rights of the defense, with the aim of damaging the reputation and reputation of Mr. Platini".

As for the head of the electoral committee and the audit and compliance committee, Domenico Scala, he was targeted for having, in an interview with Financial times, "Clearly sided with Michel Platini, one of the candidates whose candidacy he was responsible for approving" to the FIFA presidency.

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"The timetable for the investigation and trial procedure prevented Mr. Platini from running for the presidency of FIFA", believed the ex-player's advice, which noted the "Numerous procedural irregularities" and assimilated "The punishment that struck" French to "A political decision".

"Bureaucratic Mafia"

Michel Platini also considered that Article 7 of the European Convention on the principle of non-retroactivity had been violated. For its defenders, "His behavior should not be judged in terms of the FIFA code of ethics as it resulted from its drafting in 2012", but to one of the earlier versions of the regulation (2006 and 2009). Finally, they stressed the non-compliance with Article 8 of the European Convention, which protects the freedom to exercise a professional activity.

His lawyers were hoping “Promote a moralization of the governance of FIFA and, more concretely, force Switzerland to cause a review of the procedure. "

The former number 10 is the first person to have filed an appeal with the ECHR to attack the governing bodies of FIFA, presided over since 2016 by his ex-right-hand man at UEFA, Gianni Infantino. " Mr. Platini was a pioneer in this request, a day will come when the ECHR will necessarily sanction the inadequacy of the functioning of FIFA and the CAS with the main principles of a fair trial Reacted Me Bourdon and Me Repolt.

On November 2, 2019, the former French Secretary General of FIFA (2007-2015), Jérôme Valcke, imitated him by filing an appeal before the ECHR to contest his ten-year suspension decided in 2016 by the disciplinary bodies of FIFA.

Mr. Platini's approach was motivated by a political aim: to question the system in place at the top of world football. " I would love to create a Platini jurisprudence. How can they prevent someone from working in football? Everything related to ethics must come out of this bureaucratic mafia ”he said to World in September 2019.

Read also Michel Platini: "How can someone who has vomited on FIFA be its president? "

Judicial counterattack

Michel Platini's counterattack did not end with this ECHR decision, however. In October 2019, the Paris public prosecutor's office deemed admissible its complaint against X for "Slanderous denunciation" and "Association of criminals with a view to committing the offense of slanderous information".

At the end of its preliminary investigation, the French justice has " officially denounced the facts At the Federal Department of Justice and Police of the Swiss Confederation. A federal prosecutor is about to appoint a "special prosecutor" to investigate the complaint.

Mr. Platini wants to determine the role of former world leaders in his collapse, including Mr. Blatter and his entourage, and who transmitted the information about the famous payment to the MPC. " Mr. Platini will continue his fight in Switzerlande, insist Me Bourdon and Me Repolt. All the revelations in progress make it perfectly possible to identify and prosecute the perpetrators of the plot. "

In a note, consulted by The world, lawyers for the Frenchman notably asked the investigators to interview the current FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, as well as the Swiss attorney general, Michael Lauber, and his spokesperson, André Marty. Lauber was found guilty of "violating his duties", following a disciplinary investigation, for having met Mr. Infantino repeatedly and informally in 2016 and 2017.


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