UEFA president Michel Platini has written to UEFA’s member associations after a payment made to him by Sepp Blatter formed part of criminal proceedings opened against the Swiss.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) opened proceedings against Blatter on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation, with the FIFA president suspected of signing a contract with the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), then led by former FIFA heavyweight Jack Warner, in 2005 that market experts claim handed World Cup television rights for the 2010 event in South Africa and the 2014 showpiece in Brazil to Warner for a fraction of their value.
Blatter is also accused by authorities of making a “disloyal payment” to Platini in 2011 in relation to work carried out by him between 1999 and 2002, when the Frenchman was a special advisor to the 79-year-old.
FIFA presidential candidate Platini said in a statement on Friday he had co-operated with Swiss authorities over the Blatter proceedings and, after Blatter confirmed he would not stand down ahead of FIFA’s Extraordinary Congress in February despite the investigation, Platini acknowledged concerns over his image and reputation in the wake of recent events.
In his letter, Platini wrote: “I am sure that you have all taken note of the events that occurred last Friday in Zurich.
“I am also aware that in this matter, there is speculation about the facts that concern me personally. You will surely understand that firstly I have not been accused of any wrongdoing, and secondly that as a matter of respect, I will refrain from making detailed statements in connection with the ongoing investigation.
“Still, for reasons of transparency, I would like to inform you about the following important aspects.
“I wish to clarify that for the period 1998 to 2002 I was employed by FIFA to work on a wide range of matters relating to football. It was a full-time job and my functions were known by all. The remuneration was agreed at the time and after initial payments were made the final outsatdning amount of 2 million Swiss Francs was paid in February of 2011.
“This income has all been fully declared by me to the authorities, in accordance with Swiss law.
“I was interviewed by the Swiss authorities about this matter last Friday, not as a person accused of any wrongdoing, but simply in my capacity as a person providing information.
“Furthermore, I have, today, written to the Ethics Committee of FIFA to request that I may come forward and provide whatever additional information may be needed in order to clear this matter up.
“I am aware that these events may harm my image and my reputation and by consequence, the image of UEFA, the organisation of which I am proud to be president. For these reasons, I wish to use all my energies to ensure that any issues or misunderstandings can be resolved as soon as possible.”