Michel Platini: Fifa presidential hopeful angry at 'shameful' ban

Michel Platini
Michel Platini scored 41 goals in 72 international appearances for France as a player

Michel Platini still wants to succeed Sepp Blatter as Fifa president, despite serving a 90-day ban while corruption claims are investigated.

Uefa boss Platini is suspended as Fifa studies reports he received a £1.35m payment from Blatter in 2011.

The 60-year-old told French newspaper Le Mondeexternal-link he had done nothing wrong and "certainly still wants to" stand in the Fifa presidential election in February.

"It's shameful to be dragged through the mud like this," said Platini.

"I have been suspended for three months, but what annoys me the most is being tarred with the same brush as the others.

"My lawyers are following the Fifa proceedings and will take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if needs be."

In June, Blatter announced he would leave his position at the head of world football, though he is also serving a 90-day ban, but also denies any wrongdoing.

Platini, who has been president of European football's Uefa since 2007, was tipped to replace the 79-year-old Swiss and still believes he will have enough support to do so.

"I don't think I have lost many votes with these scandals," he added. "People who know me know that I can look myself in the mirror.

"I don't like to lose. Especially not on the basis of a scandal that isn't one."

'How much do you want?' 'A million'

Blatter Platini
Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini are both serving 90-day bans

Fifa's ethics committee is looking into the circumstances of a payment of 2m Swiss francs Platini received in 2011 for work said to have been carried out more than nine years previously.

Platini claims Blatter asked to see him before the 1998 World Cup in France and wanted the Frenchman to become Fifa president, with Blatter taking over as general secretary.

"I wasn't interested," said Platini. "I was focused on the World Cup and didn't see myself as president."

He says the pair met again two months later, with Blatter asking Platini to become his football adviser and enquiring how much money he wanted.

Platini added: "I said 'a million'. 'A million what?' 'Whatever you want: roubles, pounds, dollars.' He said, 'OK, 1m Swiss francs a year.' Incredible though it may sound, that's what happened."

'It was a gentleman's agreement - I trusted him'

Michel Platini
Michel Platini helped France win the 1984 European Championship

Platini worked for Blatter from 1998 to 2002 "reforming the international match calendar" and on "the Goal Programme - a Fifa assistance and support scheme for the poorest associations".

"It's never been about money for me," said Platini. "I was an unpaid chairman of the World Cup organising committee.

"Before that, I turned down the opportunity to go to Real Madrid even though they had handed me a cheque and told me to add as many zeros as I liked.

"When I said to Blatter 'a million of whatever you want', I was leaving it up to him to decide how much he wanted to give me."

However, a formal contract for the full pay was never signed.

"I haven't had a lawyer or agent to negotiate for me for a long time," added Platini.

"It was a gentleman's agreement. He was going to be president of Fifa. I trusted him. I've since learned that under Swiss law, an oral contract is as valid as a written one."

'I was paid without any fuss'

Fifa will vote to appoint a new president in February

Since being banned, the Football Association, which had previously backed Platini in the election, suspended its support for the former Nancy, St Etienne and Juventus midfielder.

However, Platini has defended the payment and said it was not his fault that it came so long after the work had finished.

He says that he "worked for several months" without any payment and was told by Blatter that he could not earn three times the salary of the general secretary, who was paid 300,000 Swiss francs.

Platini claims a contract for 300,000 Swiss francs was agreed, on the basis Fifa "would pay the balance later" but "later never came" so he called in the debt.

"The finance department at Fifa asked Blatter if he owed me money and he said yes so I sent an invoice at their request," said Platini.

"But I got it wrong, to my own disadvantage. I forgot that I had been paid 300,000 Swiss francs a year - I thought that it had been 500,000 Swiss francs and that he therefore owed me another 500,000 for each of the four years.

"So I sent an invoice for 2m Swiss francs. I was paid 10 days later without any fuss from Fifa. If there had been any doubt whatsoever, they would have refused to pay me."

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