What does the CAS verdict mean for Michel Platini and UEFA?


Michel Platini has announced he will resign as UEFA president after his ban from football was reduced from six years to four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Here, we answer some of the main questions that have been raised by Monday's verdict.

Why has Platini been banned?

Michel Platini

This one actually is relatively simple. In 2011, the then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter authorised a payment of two million Swiss francs (£1.4million) to Platini for what the pair have described as consultancy services between 1999 and 2002, at a rate of one million Swiss francs per annum. But a FIFA ethics committee and appeal panel decided this was nonsense, and now a CAS appeal tribunal has agreed with them, stating it could only see a written contract for 300,000 Swiss francs. Blatter's payment to Platini therefore breached two FIFA codes of conduct as it was "unfair" and a conflict of interests.

What was the case for the defence?

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter

Both men, for many years allies, have always maintained their innocence and say the contract was a "gentleman's agreement". They have claimed Platini agreed to wait for some of his payment because FIFA was in financial bother in 2002 and only asked for the balance to be paid in 2011 when the governing body's coffers were full.

How did that go down with CAS?

Michel Platini

Badly. While the three-man tribunal did reduce Platini's ban from six years to four - it had already been reduced from the initial eight years by FIFA's appeal panel in February - its ruling is more damning than anything FIFA published. It connects the payment to the 2011 FIFA presidential race that saw Blatter win a fourth term unopposed, but only after his main rival Mohamed Bin Hammam was suspended on corruption charges and the likes of the Football Association spoke out against the Swiss veteran's candidacy. The CAS verdict notes that others at FIFA were aware of the payment in 2011 but did nothing and that Platini received pension benefits he did not deserve. With crushing understatement, the panel also points out the 60-year-old Frenchman has shown no remorse for his actions or for the impact they have had on global football's reputation.

Now that he has said he will resign, what will UEFA do next?

Michel Platini

While FIFA has bore the brunt of the opprobrium heaped on football administrators, UEFA has suffered too. Not least because it has tried to accommodate its disgraced leader by not replacing him, even on a provisional basis. Banned from all football activities since December, Platini has been an absent landlord at UEFA's Nyon HQ at a time when it has been putting the finishing touches to the European Championships and talking to the clubs about a major revamp of the club competitions from 2018. UEFA's executive committee will meet in Basle on May 18, the day of the Europa League final, to thrash out an election process that must be completed by September. It must also decide what to do at general-secretary level as new FIFA president Gianni Infantino's old job is being done on an interim basis by Theodore Theodoridis, who, just to complicate matters further, may also fancy Platini's old office.

Is this really the end of Platini's career in football?

Michel Platini

Probably, although he has already said he will take his fight to the Swiss federal courts. The problem he will meet there, however, is that CAS rulings are meant to be final and binding and Platini has explicitly agreed to this. His last hope is to convince the court that CAS got the process wrong or acted in bad faith. This has only worked a handful of times in 20 years, and even then the judgements have taken a long time and a lot of money.

As Platini pointed out in his post-verdict statement, he cannot even contest the next FIFA presidential election in 2019. The last line of that statement is perhaps the best prediction that can be made for him: "Life is always full of surprises: I am henceforth available to experience more of them."