Defiant Michel Platini won't perform UEFA duties during FIFA ban
Michel Platini will not perform his duties as president of UEFA while he is suspended by FIFA, European football's governing body said on Thursday.
Alongside FIFA president Sepp Blatter, Platini was suspended earlier Thursday by the FIFA ethics committee after becoming a suspect in a Swiss criminal investigation.
"Michel Platini is currently suspended and will therefore not perform his officials duties for the time being," UEFA in a statement. "As such he did not attend the meeting of the UEFA executive committee today and has cancelled several official trips.
"UEFA is fully aware of its responsibilities under the relevant provisions of the statutes."
Platini, a former European player of the year, submitted his formal candidacy to stand in the Feb. 26 election to replace Blatter on Thursday morning. That means it will have to be considered by the election committee after the Oct. 26 deadline for candidacies.
The 90-day suspensions for Blatter and Platini were imposed after the Swiss authorities started investigating a payment from FIFA to the former France midfield great in 2011 for work carried out at least nine years earlier.
A statement from Platini was also released through UEFA, an action which appeared to be at odds with the terms of his ban.
"I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague," Platini said. "Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics "seems to have been committed" and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.
"Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.
"I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.
"I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA's member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football's interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment."
According to UEFA statutes, Platini should be replaced by Angel Maria Villar, the highest-ranking vice president, though the organisation did not name an interim president.
Earlier on Thursday, UEFA said it backed Platini and "saw no need" for the highest-ranking vice-president to step in to assume his powers.
"This is because the UEFA executive committee is aware that the UEFA president will immediately take all necessary steps to appeal the decision of the FIFA ethics committee to clear his name," the UEFA statement said.
"Finally, the UEFA executive committee expressed its full confidence in UEFA president, Michel Platini, and stands fully behind him."
England's Football Association has been a supporter of Platini's bid for the FIFA presidency, but chairman Greg Dyke said on Thursday that the FA could reconsider its backing.
"If the ethics committee reaches a conclusion that Mr Platini has not behaved properly or has behaved dishonestly then of course the FA will not support him," Dyke told Press Association Sport.