Media coverage surrounding Michel Platini’s suspension as UEFA president risks making the investigation “unfair”, according to Gianni Infantino, the governing body’s general secretary.
Platini was given a provisional 90-day suspension after being named as a person of interest to the criminal investigation launched into FIFA president Sepp Blatter, specifically as a result of a payment of £1.35million made by Blatter to the UEFA chief in 2011.
UEFA announced on Thursday that it will support Platini’s attempts to clear his name and called for the investigative parties, including the Court of Arbitration for Sport, to reach a decision on the merits of the case by the middle of next month.
Infantino, however, considers leaked comments in the media about the case to be potentially damaging to any fair process concerning Platini, who has appealed his ban.
“There is a trust in CAS as an independent body. What is really, really disappointing generally is all the leaks that are coming out,” Infantino said after the meetings of the UEFA member nations and the Executive Committee on Thursday.
“I know you [the media] are happy with them, but it’s not fair that you know before the person who is accused or suspended knows. It’s not a fair process.
“Platini was re-elected unanimously in March. He’s accused of something, he’s forbidden to speak to those who have elected him, to explain his story.
“It’s the minimum, at least, that his lawyer came to speak to them [in Thursday’s meetings]. He’d like to speak to you [the media], but he cannot.
“He felt that something needed to be said to those who had supported him.
“A number of comments were made during the meeting but in the end everyone agreed to support the statement, because everybody is of the opinion that it is not right to judge somebody without giving him due process.
“CAS is very well able to decide within a month’s time, they can do it within a few days. They do that all the time.
“It’s imperative that we stop speculating. We need to have clarity.”
UEFA has also refused to suggest the FIFA Congress scheduled for next February, in which a new president will be elected, should be postponed as a result of the latest investigations.
“The UEFA associations are of the opinion that the FIFA Congress should not be postponed because we are dealing with responsible people who care about the future of the game,” Infantino added.
“FIFA deserves to have a new president who is legitimately elected. Only then can you implement reforms and change the image of FIFA.”
Both Platini and Blatter have persistently denied any wrongdoing.