Platini hopeful of FIFA presidency despite suspension

Paris, Oct 19 (IANS) Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) president Michel Platini is still hopeful of succeeding Sepp Blatter as world football governing body FIFA president, despite serving a 90-day ban while corruption claims are investigated.

Platini is suspended as FIFA is studying reports that he received a 1.35 million pounds payment from Blatter in 2011. The 60-year-old said he had done nothing wrong and “certainly still wants to” stand in the FIFA presidential election in February, French newspaper Le Monde reported on Sunday.

“It’s shameful to be dragged through the mud like this. I have been suspended for three months, but what annoys me the most is being tarred with the same brush as the others. My lawyers are following the FIFA proceedings and will take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if need be,” Platini said.

In June, Blatter announced he would leave his position, though he is also serving a 90-day ban.

Platini, who has been president of UEFA since 2007, was tipped to replace the 79-year-old Swiss and believes he will still have enough support to do so.

“I don’t think I have lost many votes with these scandals. People who know me know that I can look myself in the mirror,” Platini said.

FIFA’s ethics committee is looking into the circumstances of a payment of two million Swiss francs Platini received in 2011 for work said to have been carried out more than nine years previously. Platini claims Blatter asked to see him before the 1998 World Cup in France and wanted the Frenchman to become FIFA president with Blatter taking over as general secretary.

“I wasn’t interested,” said Platini. “I was focused on the World Cup and didn’t see myself as president.”

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