Mexico City - FIFA president Gianni Infantino opened a
meeting of the football body's new council in Mexico on Monday, as UEFA chief
Michel Platini's resignation following a sport ban cast a shadow over the
Infantino, who was Platini's number two at the European
football organization before taking over FIFA in February, lamented his former
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) maintained
Platini's ban, though it reduced it from six to four years, saying the penalty
initially imposed by FIFA's ethics committee was "too severe."
But the court said it was "not convinced" that the
$2 million payment Platini received from FIFA in 2011 was legitimate.
The payment was ordered by world football's disgraced
ex-president Sepp Blatter, who was also brought down over the infamous
Infantino, speaking to reporters after the FIFA Council met
in Mexico City, said that, as chief of football's governing body, he must
"respect the decision" by the CAS.
"On a personal level, of course I'm very sad about this
decision. I've worked with Michel for the last nine years," Infantino
"We did some great things in UEFA together and I really
want to keep these positive memories."
Also read: Platini loses appeal, quits UEFA presidency
Platini, once the frontrunner to succeed Blatter as the most
powerful man in the sport, said after the ruling he had no choice but to resign
and would keep fighting in Swiss courts to prove his "probity."
Asked whether FIFA would seek to recoup the $2 million,
Infantino said: "Decisions have been taken today, it's not the
Wolfgang Niersbach, the former head of the German football
federation and a member of UEFA's executive committee, said the court's
decision was "very grave" for "my friend Michel."
"Michel did exceptional work at UEFA. The end is sad.
His decision to resign, I think, is the right one," he said.
- 'Right to fight' -
Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, a FIFA Council member
who lost to Infantino in the contest to run the global organization, said the
court's ruling must be respected.
"Michel has the right to fight for his name and we have
to respect the decision," he said.
FIFA's disgraced executive committee was renamed the FIFA
Council during a special congress in February that passed reforms and elected
Infantino as president.
The reforms came into force on April 27, 60 days after the
vote, but Infantino must now now make sure the regional confederations and
national associations at the heart of the corruption take note.
The Council will meet for a second day on Tuesday to discuss
the measures ahead of FIFA's Congress in the Mexican capital on Thursday and
With tougher membership rules in force, the FIFA Council was
discussing proposals on who sits on the body's governance council and the
ethics commission currently led by Domenico Scala.
The congress also faces prickly votes over the admission of
Gibraltar and Kosovo that will take the world body to 211 members.
"It's my first congress as president, the first
congress of a new era in FIFA, focused on football development. It was a big
part of the discussions today, how we could invest in football
development," Infantino said.For
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