Soccer

Michel Platini to resign as UEFA president

Michel Platini will resign as UEFA president after failing to overturn his ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which cut his sanction from six to four years.

FIFA vice president steps down after court imposes 4-year ban

Michel Platini was found guilty of conflict of interest for taking a $2 million US payment from FIFA which was approved by Sepp Blatter in 2011. The UEFA president will step down after a court imposed a four-year ban. ( Valery Hache)

Michel Platini will resign as UEFA president after failing to overturn his ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which cut his sanction from six to four years.

Platini said he will now step down from the UEFA position he has held since 2007, which also gave him FIFA vice president status.

CAS effectively removed Platini from world soccer by ensuring his ban runs beyond his current UEFA mandate, which expires in March 2019.

The court said in a statement that the ban "corresponds to the duration of a presidential term."

The court ruled that Platini was guilty of conflict of interest for taking a $2 million US payment from FIFA approved by Sepp Blatter in 2011.

The money was uncontracted extra salary for working as Blatter's presidential adviser from 1999-2002, and was largely unknown until it was revealed by Swiss federal prosecutors last September.

The CAS panel "was not convinced by the legitimacy of the 2,000,000 Swiss francs payment, which was only recognized by Mr. Platini and Mr. Blatter," the statement said.

Platini got the money "more than eight years after the end of his work relations, was not based on any document established at the time of the contractual relations and did not correlate with the alleged unpaid part of his salary," the court said.

In deciding the ban, the judges said Platini's attitude in court was a factor in the verdict.

The ruling cited "the absence of any repentance and the impact that this matter has had on FIFA's reputation."

FIFA was also criticized by the court for knowing about the irregular payment for four years before the independent ethics committee opened an investigation.

The case ended Platini's hopes of replacing Blatter at FIFA.

The UEFA executive committee will meet next week in Basel, Switzerland, to discuss replacing Platini. An election is likely in mid-September at meetings of European soccer leaders in Athens, Greece.

Blatter is awaiting a CAS hearing to challenge his six-year ban.

Blatter and Platini were provisionally suspended by the FIFA ethics committee last October, then banned for eight years. FIFA's appeal panel cut two years off their sanctions in February as reward for their long service to the sport.

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