Soccer

UEFA, FIFA call off friendly amid corruption crisis

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini will avoid coming face-to-face on Friday amid the football corruption scandal after a UEFA-FIFA match was called off.

Game was originally scheduled for Oct. 2

FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini will avoid confrontation after a friendly match was called off between the two sides. Blatter is under investigation over a payment to Platini and Platini is being treated "between a witness and an accused person." (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini will avoid coming face-to-face on Friday amid the football corruption scandal after a UEFA-FIFA match was called off.

Blatter, the FIFA president, would usually travel to Platini's UEFA headquarters in Nyon for the friendly game between the governing bodies.

"In a joint decision it was agreed to postpone the UEFA-FIFA challenge 2015, which had been scheduled for Friday, 2 October, until further notice," FIFA said in a statement to The Associated Press.

The game would have come a week after a criminal investigation was opened into Blatter, in part over a payment in 2011 to Platini.

Blatter is being investigated as a suspect, while Platini is being treated "between a witness and an accused person," according to Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber.

The rift between former close allies Blatter and Platini widened recently when UEFA complained to FIFA about a document being distributed that attempted to discredit its president, leading to the departure of one of Blatter's staff.

Pass integrity checks

Platini is vying to replace Blatter in the emergency FIFA election in February. To stand in the election, Platini has to pass FIFA integrity checks after the Oct. 26 cut-off for the submission of candidacies.

Platini has faced scrutiny from some national associations in Europe over why he was paid 2 million Swiss francs (about $2 million US) by FIFA in 2011 for work carried out up to 2002.

"Events of recent days have raised a number of issues which do need to be fully examined," the English Football Association said after discussing Platini at a board meeting on Wednesday.

But the FA board decided to stand by a July decision to unanimously support Platini in the presidential election.

"We thought he was an excellent President of UEFA and could bring those same leadership qualities to FIFA," the FA said in a statement. "We are still of that view."

The FA noted that Platini is co-operating fully with the ongoing FIFA investigation by the Swiss and has offered to assist the ethics committee.

In his first detailed explanation, Platini said Tuesday that he only requested payment in 2011 because, when he took the job as a Blatter adviser in 1998, FIFA's "financial situation" meant he could not be paid the "totality" of his salary.

FIFA's accounts for 1999-2002 show a revenue surplus of 115 million Swiss francs (about $83 million US in 2002) but a deficit of 134 million Swiss francs had been forecast.

In response to questions about the payment, UEFA said Wednesday: "The president has been fully open and transparent with the authorities. He has not been accused of any wrongdoing."

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