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Sports

Platini battles to overturn Fifa ban

media Michel Platini arrived in Zurich on February 15 to appeal against his eight-year ban from football over ethics violations. AFP

Michel Platini appeared before Fifa's appeals committee in Zurich on Monday. He hopes to overturn his eight-year ban from football over ethics violations.

The former president of European football’s governing body, Uefa, was banned by Fifa's ethics committee in December, along with its president Sepp Blatter.

They were both found guilty over a "disloyal payment" of 1,8 million euros from Blatter to Platini in 2011.

The mysterious transaction was also part of a criminal investigation by Swiss prosecutors targeting Blatter, in which Platini has been questioned.

The pair have denied any wrongdoing, and insist the payment followed an oral agreement between them dating back to when Platini worked for Blatter as a consultant, from 1999 to 2002.

Fifa's tribunal initially dismissed this explanation at a previous hearing which Platini boycotted, as he claimed the outcome had been pre-determined.

"I am not fighting for my future, but against injustice," Platini told journalists outside Fifa’s headquarters on Monday.

"If I had anything to feel guilty about, I would be in Siberia, hiding in shame," he said, before adding that if the evidence against him had been credible, he would have stayed away.

Before the ban, Platini was the favourite to succeed Blatter as Fifa’s next president at the presidential elections on Februrary 26.

The former Juventus star and France international then withdrew as a candidate, to focus on clearing his name. 

If his claims are rejected in Zurich, he is expected to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

"We'll see what happens," he told reporters on Monday. "Maybe this is not over."

Meanwhile Uefa has said it will not elect a new president until Platini's appeals process has been concluded.

As for Sepp Blatter, he will be heard by the appeals committee on Tuesday, ten days ahead of Fifa's next presidential election.
 

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