Outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter has defended the alleged “disloyal payment” made to Michel Platini that has resulted in the pair’s suspension from the organisation.
Blatter paid Platini a reported two million Swiss francs in 2011 for work that the Frenchman claims he carried out for FIFA between 1999 and 2002.
The transaction is the subject of a criminal investigation by the Swiss attorney general.
Last week, both men were provisionally suspended for 90 days by FIFA’s Ethics Committee and Blatter protested his innocence in an interview with Swiss broadcaster RROTV, his first public appearance since being sanctioned.
“It was a contract I had with Michel Platini, a gentleman’s agreement that was followed through on,” said the 79-year-old, who is due to step down from his post in February.
“I can now give no details but it was all lawful.
“I have no one at a disadvantage, [I have not] stolen money and I am not a murderer.”
UEFA announced that it will continue to back Platini’s ailing bid to become Blatter’s successor as president of FIFA, but this collective support from the European federation was dented earlier on Friday when the Football Association (FA) suspended its support of the former France international.
While the FA backed UEFA’s stance that Platini has a right to due process, it moved away from overall support after it “learnt more information relating to the issues at the centre of the case from Mr Platini’s lawyers”.