Recently, UEFA President, Michel Platini, explained about a late payment that he received from FIFA in 2011. The payment has raised controversy with many questioning the circumstances under which the payments were made. One individual who has not been satisfied by Michel Platini’s explanation is Reinhard Raubal, the head of German football league.
In his explanation, Michel Platini said that when he was starting his duties in FIFA, as an adviser in 1999, the organization was going through financial difficulties. He added that FIFA was not in a position to pay his salary in its entirety, a fact he was told by Blatter. He also said that he never doubted that the amount FIFA owed him was never going to be paid. Platini also pointed out that he put the issue aside before eventually requesting to be paid the remaining amount in 2011.
Many of the issues that have been raised regarding Platini devolve around the timing of the payment and the reason behind the delay. The reason given by Platini for the delay is not sufficient because FIFA accounts for the periods between 1999 and 2002 seems to indicate a different scenario. It is true that at some point, FIFA experienced a deficit of 134 million Swiss francs because of the bankruptcy of its marketing and television partners. However, within that given period, FIFA experienced a turn of fortunes as it registered a surplus in revenue amounting to 115 million Swiss Francs. In 2003, FIFA President, Sep Blatter noted that the organization was financially sound than it had ever been. Therefore, there was no logical reason as t why the payment could not be made at the time or earlier enough.
The timing of the payment has also raised its fair share of controversy. The payment that was made on February 2011 came shortly after the UEFA boss had met Mohamed bin Hamman, the Asian Football chief. Mohamed had earlier on urged Platini to contest against Blatter. The conversation was made two months before UAFA threw its support behind Blatter’s candidature. Countering the arguments, Platini insisted that the amount paid was for the duties that he had performed and was paid to him after requesting FIFA to do so. He said that making the payments just before the FIFA elections was irrelevant since he was not standing for election during that period.
Rauball believes that the explanations given by the UEFA president are not enough. He says that Platini needs to make an explanation to the football fans and the public. He emphasizes on a credible explanation. This is because Platini’s line in his letter that he did not wish to make any comments on the subject because it is an ongoing investigation is not good enough. Rauball says that it would be enough if Platini was in private surroundings and a private individual but not as a FIFA presidential candidate.
Platini is not the only high-ranking football official that has been involved in the payment saga. He is in between an investigation being carried out by Swiss officials. FIFA president, Blatter is under investigation over television rights deals he signed to Jack Warner the former head of Caribbean football that sold the rights afterwards and made a profit of 11 million pounds. To this end, Rauball suggested that Blatter should have immediately given up his position rather than wait until February of next year. Rauball said that it is possible for Blatter to stay in power if there is no other candidate that will come forth to challenge him.
Before the payment issue came up, Michel Platini was considered as the favorite candidate to succeed Sep Blatter as the FIFA president. He still states that he is committed to vying to be the president of the organization. Although he has not been subjected to an investigation yet, the payment issue has in some way dented his image going by the strong statements made by some UEFA members. However, it cannot be established with certainty that it will affect his chances of clinching the FIFA to post.
Presently, Platini enjoys support from bodies such as the Football Association (FA). The FA board unanimously endorsed Platini’s candidature despite the ongoing issues surrounding him. Their support for Platini has brought political pressure to the FA but the body still holds firm to its stand. The only change of tone has been its request for more clarity on the subject. The FA points out that its priority is the reform agenda, which should not be hijacked by the recent happenings. The head of the FA, Dyke, says that the organization has a good working relationship with Platini because it considers him as the right person to take over the mantle and lead the next face of FIFA.
Platini says that he is still determined to offer himself as a candidate for the FIFA presidency so that he can have a chance to introduce governance reforms. He adds that the reforms are necessary in returning credibility to the world football governing body. Platini defends himself by saying that he has done no wrong and that his integrity is still intact. He said that he is not worried about the situation. Platini added that he had known all along that he would be a target of many baseless attacks and he expected the same to continue until after FIFA elections have been conducted.