Michel Platini’s dream to succeed Sepp Blatter is under threat as both to be under investigation by FIFA ethics committee.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) opened a criminal investigation against FIFA president Sepp Blatter for possible criminal mismanagement and misappropriation of FIFA money.
The OAG said in a statement that Blatter made a “disloyal payment” of 2 million Swiss francs to Platini in early 2011 for work carried out between 1999 and 2002. Allegations also relate to World Cup broadcasting contracts Blatter agreed to with disgraced former FIFA vice president Jack Warner in 2005.
“There is as suspicion that, in the implementation of this agreement, Blatter also violated his fiduciary duties and acted against the interest of FIFA,” the OAG said.
Platini has recognized that the payment occurred, but said in a statement on Friday that it was for work “carried out under a contract with FIFA.”
After Friday’s meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee, Blatter’s scheduled news conference was cancelled and was interrogated by the OAG. Blatter’s office at FIFA headquarters in Zurich was also searched and data was seized.
A statement from Blatter’s lawyer says the contract was “properly prepared and negotiated” and that “no mismanagement occurred.”
FIFA, in a statement, said that it has been cooperating with the OAG and has complied with all requests for documents, data and other information.
Platini had been the front runner for FIFA presidency but William Hill’s odds have shot up from 1/3 to 11/10.
Ladbrokes spokesperson Alex Donohue said that the odds have moved decisively in favor of Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, brother to Jordan’s King Abdullah, and Platini now looks increasingly less likely to win the presidential race.
Al Hussein, in a statement on Saturday, said that FIFA’s governing body has been “decimated” by scandal and “the need for new leadership that can restore the credibility of FIFA”.
“We cannot change the past, but we can have a future where FIFA member associations are able to focus on football rather than worrying about the next scandal or criminal investigation involving FIFA leadership,” added Al Hussein.