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October 17, 2015

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Platini loses English backing

MICHEL Platini lost England’s support for his FIFA presidential bid yesterday, signaling the first crack in the European unity behind the Frenchman that UEFA had sought to portray.

The English Football Association was one of the first federations to publicly endorse Platini’s campaign in July and now becomes the first to distance itself from the UEFA president while he remains under investigation.

Platini’s 90-day FIFA suspension meant he was banned from the UEFA meeting on Thursday where his lawyer responded to concerns about the payment which sparked the ethics case and a Swiss criminal investigation.

The English FA indicated yesterday that it had concerns about the explanation for Platini receiving 2 million Swiss francs (about US$2 million) from FIFA in 2011. Platini says the money was unpaid additional salary from his job as Sepp Blatter’s adviser between 1998 and 2002 which FIFA could not afford to pay at the time. But a written contract has not been produced for FIFA ethics investigators.

“At the UEFA meeting on Thursday the FA learnt more information relating to the issues at the center of this case from Mr. Platini’s lawyers,” the FA said in a statement.

Jordanian federation head Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who the FA backed in the May presidential election, is running again. But Asian Football Confederation Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalif, who endorsed Platini’s campaign in July, is now also considering submitting his candidacy for the February 26 election.

Given that Platini will be suspended at the time election integrity checks are conducted, it seems unlikely that the former France captain can be declared a candidate.


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