Platini says payment from FIFA was "man to man" agreement
Embattled UEFA president Michel Platini has said he had a "man to man" agreement with FIFA head Joseph Blatter about a payment of 2 million Swiss francs (2.1 million dollars) under investigation by Swiss authorities.
In an extensive interview with French newspaper Le Monde published Monday, Platini admitted that he only had an verbal contract about his payment for work he did between 1999 and 2002. But he added that oral contracts are acceptable under Swiss law.
Blatter and Platini were provisionally banned for 90 days by the FIFA ethics committee following a Swiss criminal investigation against Blatter, launched on September 25, for making the payment to Platini in 2011.
"Blatter asked me to be his football councillor," Platini told the paper. "Which was fine with me. 'How much do you want?' asked Blatter. I responded: 'One million.' 'Of what?' 'Of whatever you want, rubles, liras, dollars.' At the time, the euro still didn't exist. He responded: 'Okay, one million Swiss francs per year'."
Platini said he helped Blatter with reform of global competition schedules, a FIFA project aimed at helping the world's poorest football federations, and travelled with him extensively during the four years of employment.
But he added that the payment did not come through, because Blatter said it would be unreasonable to pay 1 million francs when the federation's secretary general made 300,000. According to Platini, the two agreed to set the salary at 300,000 and pay the balance later. That didn't happen until 2011.
"I asked my services to get in touch with the head of FIFA finances who asked Blatter if he owed me money. He said yes. I sent a receipt at their demand. And that's where I messed up, to my detriment," Platini said.
"I didn't know anymore that I had been paid 300,000 Swiss francs, I thought it was 500,000 and that they owed me 500,000 for four years. So I sent a receipt for 2 million."
He said he would continue running for president of FIFA, saying it was what he had always wanted, adding that the change of leadership was a good opportunity to flush out corruption in the organization.
Platini has been supported by UEFA despite his suspension but his bid to replace outgoing president Blatter at an extraordinary FIFA congress on February 26 took a blow Friday when the English Football Association suspended its support.