October 13 – Sepp Blatter’s payment to Michel Platini of £1.35 million for alleged work for FIFA which is being investigated by the Swiss authorities was never declared to the executive committees of either FIFA or UEFA.
It now appears that there were two contracts a written contract for Platini’s work for FIFA between 1998 and 2002 for which around £710,000 was believed to have been paid to Platini. But then there was a further payment of £1.35 million on the basis of an oral contract and it is this the Swiss are investigating.
Lennart Johannsson, who was President of UEFA in 1999 when Blatter is alleged to have hired Platini to work for FIFA told Insideworldfootball: “I was a member of the FIFA executive then and Blatter should have reported it to the executive but he never did. I never heard about this arrangement in FIFA. This is quite a lot of money, not a small amount. I have only learnt through the media that Platini claims that he has a contract with FIFA.”
Platini received the payment of £1.35 million in 2011 and by this time the Frenchman had succeeded Johannsson as President of UEFA. However, as honorary President of UEFA Johansson attends UEFA executive meetings and said: “I would have expected this payment to be reported to UEFA. Platini should have mentioned it to the executive. I would have done so. I would have said to the executive, ‘I have a contract with Blatter which you may criticise. But this is the truth, this is the money I received and you should know about it.’ I attend all UEFA executive meetings. I never heard about this payment of Blatter to Platini.”
The payment in 2011 came weeks before Platini decided not to stand against Blatter for the Presidency of FIFA allowing the Swiss to be re-elected unopposed for a fourth term four months later. It also came after FIFA agreed to give the television rights for World Cup qualifiers to UEFA.
This was a significant move as it enabled Platini to present himself as the President looking after Europe’s interest. Asked whether this meant the payment was a bribe Johansson said: “It must be. I mean that’s exactly what it points at. Why should he have money paid at that moment, at that time of the year, and then not reporting it to the UEFA executive? He is the UEFA President. “