Michel Platini to boycott FIFA ethics committee hearing

Michel Platini is boycotting his FIFA ethics committee hearing on Friday because he believes the officials have already decided to rule against him.
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Michel Platini is boycotting his FIFA ethics committee hearing on Friday to demonstrate his displeasure with the way he believes officials have mishandled his case, the Associated Press reports.

Platini’s lawyers said Wednesday that Platini would not attend the hearing because he believes the committee has already decided to rule against him. They wrote in a statement that the verdict “has already been announced last weekend in the press.”

On Monday, The Guardianreported that Platini and suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter would not receive the lifetime bans FIFA had requested, but that they could be handed suspensions of at least seven years.

Platini and Blatter were given 90-day bans in October as a result of an ongoing investigation by the FIFA ethics committee into alleged mismanagement of FIFA funds, centering on a $2 million payment Blatter made to Platini in 2011. The ban has prevented Platini, who is currently suspended from his post as UEFA president, from campaigning to replace Blatter as FIFA president in a special election to be held Feb. 26.

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“By this decision Michel Platini means to express his deepest indignation with a process he regards as solely political and intended to prevent him from standing for the FIFA presidency,” Platini’s lawyers said.

Platini appealed his suspension first with FIFA and then with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but was denied both times.

The FIFA ethics committee denied the allegations of prejudging Platini’s case.

“We would like to clearly stress that the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee will deal with the present case in the same way as with any other procedure independently and in an unbiased manner,” the committee said in a statement.

Blatter will appear at his hearing on Thursday, and verdicts are expected by Monday or Tuesday.

- Erin Flynn