How will 67-year-old Michel Platini relaunch his career? The question has come up repeatedly since the acquittal by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court (TPF) in Bellinzona, on July 8, of the former French president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in the payment case. alleged disloyalty of 2 million Swiss francs (1.9 million euros) received in February 2011 from Sepp Blatter, the former boss of the International Football Federation (FIFA).
A real thunderbolt in the microcosm of football, the release of the two former leaders, prosecuted for “suspicions of fraud, unfair management, breach of trust and forgery in the titles”, fueled fantasies as to the supposed intentions of the ex-number 10 of the Blues to return to the political football spectrum.
During an interview with the LCI channel on Friday, July 15, Mr. Platini cut the rumors short by officially announcing the end of his “political” career. He confirmed that he would no longer seek any term “at FIFA and UEFA” or the French Football Federation (FFF). “These are worlds that have bothered me in recent years, that I have not liked, I do not want to go back,” swept the former player, whose ambitions were shattered, at the fall of 2015, by the case of the payment of 2 million.
Archfavorite in the race to succeed Mr. Blatter, the Frenchman had been forced to let his ex-right arm at UEFA, Gianni Infantino, be elected in his place at the head of FIFA. Mr. Platini was suspended by the FIFA Ethics Committee after the initiation of criminal proceedings by the Swiss Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPC). Coming to an end in October 2019, his radiation was reduced to four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, then confirmed by the Swiss Federal Court and by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Civil party application in the Infantino case
If he assured that he still had “projects for the game and the players”, Mr. Platini affirmed at the microphone of LCI that “this world” of international bodies and “bureaucrats” “does not interest [him] more”: “It’s over. I’ve been disappointed. I am not a supporter of these institutions. Seven years ago, I was supposed to be president of FIFA, but I have matured, aged, I no longer want to spend my life on planes. My family and I need a media rest. »
However, the political and legal saga that began in 2015 could continue, insofar as the Swiss public prosecutor’s office and FIFA, a civil party, have not yet indicated whether they intend to appeal the judgment of the TPF.
A bit revengeful, Mr. Platini also declared that he would be a civil party in the context of the criminal proceedings opened in Switzerland, in July 2020, against the current boss of FIFA, Mr. Infantino, for “incitement to abuse of authority, violation of official secrecy and obstruction of criminal proceedings”.
According to our information, the Swiss lawyers of Mr. Platini will file, next week, their request for civil action with the extraordinary prosecutors Ulrich Weder and Hans Maurer. Their goal is to gain access to the court file.
MM. Weder and Maurer seek to shed light on the secret meetings (without minutes), in 2016 and 2017, between the former Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber and Mr. Infantino.
Against the backdrop of a state scandal in Switzerland, the investigation by the two magistrates targets MM. Lauber and Infantino as well as ex-MPC spokesman André Marty, a magistrate friend of Mr. Infantino, Rinaldo Arnold, ex-FIFA legal director Marco Villiger, and ex-prosecutor Olivier Thormann , which opened the criminal proceedings on the payment made to Mr. Platini.
Between the desire to ignite a media fire and the desire to counter-attack judicially in France, Mr. Platini filed a complaint against Mr. Infantino, in November 2021, for “active influence peddling” with the Paris prosecutor’s office.
“Qatargate” on the horizon?
During his interview with LCI, the ex-player also returned to the “Qatargate” affair: he is one of the protagonists targeted by the judicial investigation opened in the fall of 2019 by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) on the controversial awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
While he publicly admitted having voted in favor of the emirate during the December 2010 allocation ballot, Mr. Platini was heard in police custody on June 18, 2019, in Nanterre, in the premises of the central office for the fight against corruption and financial and tax offenses (OCLCIFF), before leaving free.
That day, Sophie Dion, the former technical adviser in charge of sports to President Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as Claude Guéant, ex-secretary general of the Elysée, were also interviewed by the investigators.
“Everyone thinks I was paid to vote for [Qatar], but they [judges and investigators] can search, they won’t find anything,” Platini told LCI. There is no corruption pact. They’re not looking for me, they’re looking for someone else, the former president [Mr. Sarkozy]. But if they can find me too, they will find me. They can search all their life, there is nothing. »
At this stage, no indictment has been pronounced by the investigating judges Marc Sommerer and Virginie Tilmont.