Sepp Blatter: Michel Platini payment based on 'gentleman's agreement'
FIFA president Sepp Blatter says a £1.35 million payment to Michel Platini which has seen the pair provisionally suspended by FIFA's ethics committee was part of a "gentleman's agreement" between the two of them.
The lack of a written contract for the payment led the Football Association of England to suspend its support for Platini's candidacy for the FIFA presidency on Friday.
The money -- 2 million Swiss francs -- was paid to UEFA president Platini in 2011, more than nine years after he had finished working for Blatter.
Blatter told Swiss TV station RROTV: "It was a contract I had with Michel Platini, a gentleman's agreement, and that was followed through on."
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Blatter's remarks will strengthen the FA's resolve that it had to distance itself from Platini following a meeting of UEFA's 54 member associations on Thursday, where the Frenchman's lawyer confirmed to officials there had only been an oral agreement for the money.
The lawyer was quizzed about whether FIFA's auditors KPMG had ever been made aware of the outstanding debt to Platini -- as would be required by accounting practices -- and the suggestion that under Swiss law outstanding payments have to be settled within five years.
Following the information received, the FA decided to drop its support for Platini, whose hopes of standing for the FIFA presidency look increasingly remote.
An FA statement said: "At the UEFA meeting the FA learnt more information relating to the issues at the centre of this case from Mr Platini's lawyers. We have been instructed that the information must be kept confidential and therefore we cannot go into specifics.
"As a result of learning this information, the FA board has this morning concluded that it must suspend its support for Mr Platini's candidature for the FIFA presidency until the legal process has been concluded and the position is clear.
"A decision can then be taken on who to support in the presidential election on Feb. 26, 2016."
The FA said it supported UEFA's statement that Platini, who remains president of the European governing body, had a right to a fair process and for it to be carried out by mid-November and wished him success in clearing his name.
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Attention will now focus on Asian confederation president Sheikh Salman, who had initially backed Platini but is expected to formally announce next week that he will run for the FIFA presidency.
Meanwhile, the corruption crisis affecting football has now struck Germany, whose national association has been forced to deny allegations that a secret slush fund was set up to buy votes for the 2006 World Cup.
German magazine Spiegel said it has documents detailing a €6.7m slush fund, and that 2006 World Cup organising committee president Franz Beckenbauer and German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach were made aware of the slush fund by 2005.
The German Football Association (DFB) has insisted the money was not in exchange for votes but is investigating whether the €6.7m "may potentially not have been used for the intended purpose."