Michel Platini, seeking election to lead world football body FIFA out of the worst corruption scandal in its history, could face a life ban from the sport over funds he received from suspended FIFA head Sepp Blatter, a spokesman for the Frenchman's lawyer said on Tuesday.
European football chief Platini was the leading candidate to replace Blatter at a special FIFA congress to be held in Zurich in February until he became embroiled in a wider graft scandal over a 2 million Swiss franc ($1.97 million) payment from FIFA in 2011. A media consultant representing Platini's lawyer Thibaud d'Ales confirmed a report in French sports newspaper, L'Equipe. "Miss (Vanessa) Allard is the investigator in chief for the FIFA ethics committee. I can confirm that she is proposing to the ethics committee a ban for life," the consultant told Reuters. UEFA chief Platini is not formally a candidate, being under a 90-day ban; but he has said he is determined to overturn the allegations against him and qualify to run in time for the February vote. The scandal around FIFA broke in May when 14 officials including two former vice-presidents were indicted in the United States for corruption. Swiss police have also opened investigations that have taken in Blatter who, like Platini, denies any wrongdoing.
The FIFA scandal is one of the biggest of several corruption affairs shaking world sport. International athletics has also suffered revelations of doping, largely affecting Russia, and corrupt manipulation of anti-doping test results.