Platini ‘happy’ after marathon FIFA appeal hearing

Zurich: The fallen head of European football, Michel Platini said he was “happy” following his marathon hearing before FIFA’s appeals committee on Monday where he protested against the “injustice” of his eight-year ban from the sport for ethics violations.

Platini’s hearing will be followed on Tuesday by that of suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who was also hit with an eight-year ban.

The former France captain arrived at FIFA’s Zurich headquarters at 10:30 GMT and left eight-and-a-half hours later saying he was “happy with the way it went”.

“It was a good hearing, well led by sincere people. I was heard by people who are part of the football family. Now we’ll see how it goes,” he told journalists.

Platini, accompanied by his lawyer Thibaud D’Ales, presented his two witnesses — Frenchman Jacques Lambert, the president of the Euro-2016 organising committee, and Spaniard Angel Maria Villar Llona, a UEFA vice-president — to prove the existence of the famous oral contract agreed between himself and Blatter.

Both men were banned by FIFA’s ethics committee in December after being found guilty of breaches surrounding a mysterious 2 million Swiss franc ($2 million, 1.8 million euros) payment Platini received from Blatter in 2011.

Both men, once the most powerful figures in world football, have insisted that the payment was part of a legitimate oral contract reportedly for consulting work performed by Platini a decade earlier.

While most football power-brokers typically enter FIFA’s compound in luxury sedans with tinted windows, the 60-year-old Platini walked the final 100 metres (330 feet) to FIFA’s gate, smiling and looking upbeat as reporters peppered him with questions.

“I am not fighting for my future, but against injustice,” Platini said.

“If I had anything to feel guilty about, I would be in Siberia, hiding in shame,” added Platini, also a former FIFA vice president. “I’m very well. There are worse things in life.”

Blatter, FIFA’s disgraced president who turns 80 in March, was also banned over the payment and his appeal hearing is set for Tuesday.

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