ZURICH (AP):The lack of a written contract and a delay collecting payment led to the 90-day suspensions for Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, a person familiar with the FIFA ethics case told The Associated Press yesterday.Blatter and Platini were handed 90-day bans last week after failing to provide written evidence to justify a payment of two million Swiss francs (about $US2 million) that Platini received from FIFA in 2011 – nine years after the job was completed – according to the person. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to speak publicly about the case.Both Blatter, the FIFA president, and Platini, his counterpart at UEFA, face longer bans if the FIFA ethics committee proves its case to ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert. The full verdicts are expected before the 90-day suspensions end.Both deny wrongdoing and are appealing against their suspensions.The ethics case was triggered by Blatter and Platini becoming embroiled in a criminal investigation in Switzerland over the same payment. Blatter was questioned as a suspect, and Platini is being investigated by the Swiss attorney general as something between a witness and a suspect.The payment relates to the time when Platini worked for Blatter as an adviser from 1998 until 2002, when the former France captain joined the FIFA executive committee.Contractually, Platini was to be paid 300,000 Swiss francs per year for his job. He claims an additional 500,000 Swiss francs per year was to be deferred. The Frenchman received 1.05 million Swiss francs for 3 1/2 years of work, the person said, reiterating details first published by The Guardian newspaper yesterday.According to the person, there was only a verbal agreement on the additional 500,000 Swiss francs per year – the amount eventually paid in 2011. Under Swiss law, Platini should have called in the debt within five years.Platini, who was also a FIFA vice-president under Blatter until he was suspended on Thursday, said two weeks ago that he was not paid “the totality of my salary because of FIFA’s financial situation at that time”.ethics committee statementA statement from the ethics committee’s adjudicatory chamber, which is headed by Eckert, said yesterday that it interviewed Platini for more than five hours on October 1. Eckert “did not see a need for a second hearing” before imposing the provisional suspension, the statement added.UEFA has rebuffed requests by the AP to ask Platini to provide a contract that shows FIFA owed him two million Swiss francs. Some soccer nations have also publicly questioned Platini’s limited public explanation.UEFA said last week that Platini feels “he has given satisfactory explanations to the authorities that are dealing with this case”.The provisional ban looks set to derail Platini’s hopes of standing in the FIFA presidential election, which is scheduled for February 26. But the FIFA executive committee could decide to postpone the ballot when it meets on October 20.In a separate case, FIFA suspended Thai soccer association president, Worawi Makudi, for 90 days. Details of the case were not provided yesterday, but Worawi has been under investigation for his conduct during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) The WHO further emphasized that official border closures would constrain resources to address the epidemic and would not stop all means of travel outside of affected areas. “Many of those who have now isolated Liberia have benefited from its friendship in the past. When the world found it fashionable and acceptable to ostracize them, Liberia welcomed them and was despised for it. But we were proud of what we were able to do for them.” The Foreign Minister commended the African Union (AU), which is expected to soon dispatch a military medical personnel team to Ebola affected countries including Liberia. The AU team is expected to comprise doctors, professional nurses, infection control officers, social workers, medical data management experts, among others. “How do we get the supplies we need?” Brown wondered. “Aid workers coming in to help us are coming from afar. They also come in rotations. He described the isolation of the Mano River Union as being “against the African spirit and that of African solidarity”, but nonetheless expressed the confidence that Liberia would weather this storm as it has others. Regional airlines such as Gambia Bird, Ghana Airways and Arik Air have halted flights to Monrovia in the wake of th outbreak of the Ebola virus, as have international carriers. British Airways has suspended flights to Monrovia. Delta’s flights will be suspended as of August 31. SN Brussels had recently suspended its service to Liberia because landing in Liberia would have caused other countries to reject the Belgian carrier. The airline announced later Tuesday night that it had sorted out the issue, and that flights would resume Thursday, August 28. Ivory Coast, Liberia’s neighbor to the east which still has refugees in Liberia since its civil conflict a few years ago, rejected a vessel that had docked at the Freeport of Monrovia. While commending all countries, institutions, and individuals that have contributed towards the fight against the Ebola disease in Liberia and other affected countries, Minister Ngafuan also commended all African countries that have already contributed or communicated intentions to contribute to the fight against the disease. The Foreign Minister was not the only Liberian official to register his disappointment with the isolation of the affected nations. Information Minister, Lewis Brown, addressing newsmen in Monrovia Tuesday, also recalled a time when Liberia came to the aid of other countries. Minister Brown, too, could only have been referring to South Africa, during whose apartheid struggle many comrades (including Nelson Mandela) traveled on Liberian passports and took refuge here. For other countries to isolate Liberia — rejecting ships that have docked in Liberia, canceling flights and shutting down businesses — is “unfair, unjust and un-African,” Brown contended. Even close neighbors, Brown said, have turned their backs on Liberia. “In these difficult moments in our countries,” Ngafuan asserted, “we expect our African brothers and sisters across the globe to take actions that will complement measures already undertaken by the affected countries with a view to speedily eradicating the disease. Actions grounded primarily in paranoia may, instead of aiding affected countries, lead to blanket stigmatization of citizens from these countries and may make it doubly difficult for affected countries to effectively combat the Ebola disease.” The Government of Liberia is not taking lightly what it sees as the ostracizing of the three nations affected by the Ebola virus — Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.Addressing foreign newsmen over the weekend, Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Augustine K. Ngafuan, recalled a time “when certain African nations were ravaged by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.” Liberia, he said, did not shut its doors for fear of contagion. The Foreign Minister could only have been referring to one nation — South Africa — the latest African nation to close its borders to passengers traveling from the Mano River Union. Ngafuan also reminded newsmen that the Ebola virus used to be known as an East African disease before it suddenly surfaced in the West African rainforest. “As we speak,” he pointed out, “it has gone right back to Zaire. Who knows where it will go next?”Ngafuan said while it is understandable that countries not affected by the Ebola outbreak may take measures to protect their citizens, they should heed the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations which do not support travel or trade restrictions on Liberia and other countries hit by the Ebola virus. The WHO has been emphatic in its warning against the imposition of air and sea restrictions: “If you try to shut down air travel and sea travel, you risk affecting to a huge extent the economy, people’s livelihoods and their ability to get around without stopping the virus from traveling. You can’t ship goods in. Sometimes these goods are basic staples people need to survive — food and fuel,” said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl. He made specific mention of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which has already dispatched a five-member team of medical experts to Liberia. He also commended the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for committing US$500,000 to aid Liberia’s fight against the deadly virus. The Government of the Kingdom of Morocco also rceived commendation for continuing flights of Royal Air Maroc (the Moroccan national carrier) to Monrovia and Freetown.