Lausanne - Michel Platini quit as the head of European
football on Monday after a sports tribunal rejected his final appeal against
his ban from football over a suspect $2.0 million payment he received from
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), where Platini
filed an appeal against his ban in February, reduced his suspension from six
years to four, saying the penalty initially imposed by FIFA's ethics committee
was "too severe."
But the court said it was "not convinced" that the
$2.0 million (1.8 million euros) payment Platini received from FIFA in 2011 was
The payment was ordered by FIFA's disgraced ex-president
Sepp Blatter, who was also brought down over the infamous transaction.
The pair are the highest-profile casualties in an
unprecedented set of corruption scandals within world football, which has seen
dozens of long-serving FIFA executives arrested and charged with corruption.
Platini, once the front-runner to succeed Blatter at FIFA
and become the most powerful man in the sport, said in a statement that
following the ruling he had no choice but to resign from UEFA.
"As agreed with the national associations, I resign as
president of UEFA to pursue my fight before the Swiss courts to prove my
probity in this case.
He called the CAS ruling "a profound injustice."
UEFA's executive committee is to meet in Basel on May 18,
before the Europa League final, when it will likely begin the process of
selecting Platini's replacement, although an election could be put off for
several more weeks.
Also read: UEFA calls special meeting on Platini crisis
The ruling means Platini will be barred from presiding over
the Euro 2016 which opens in his native France on June 10. Platini was a key
organiser up until his suspension in December.
- Illegitimate? -
Platini and Blatter have both denied any wrongdoing. They
have insisted the $2.0 million was part of a legitimate oral contract in
exchange for consulting work performed by Platini.
The CAS ruling noted that Platini had a valid consulting
contract with FIFA signed in 1999 -- with an agreed salary of 300,000 Swiss
francs ($300,000) per year -- which terminated in 2002.
But, the $2.0 million he received from FIFA in 2011,
"was not based on any document established at the time of the contractual
relations" and did not match the amount left unpaid at the end of the
contract, CAS said.
The ruling from the three-judge panel highlighted that
Blatter authorised the payment to Platini four months before a FIFA
Blatter was running against Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar and
there has been speculation that Blatter approved the payment to Platini to
secure the Frenchman's backing in the election.
While the sports tribunal made no judgement on Blatter's
motivation for approving the payment, it dismissed Platini's claim that the
funds were justified back pay for consulting work performed a decade earlier.
The court "was not convinced by the legitimacy of the
payment, which was only recognised by Mr. Platini and Mr. Blatter," the
Blatter is still under criminal investigation in Switzerland
over the transaction and other aspects of his management of FIFA.
Platini has given evidence in the probe with the status of
someone between a suspect and a witness.
Blatter was replaced as FIFA's president in February by
Gianni Infantino, Platini's former number two at UEFA, who has vowed to turn
the page on an era of unprecedented scandal within world football.For
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