December 8, 2015 / 1:36 AM / in 2 years

Top tribunal to consider temporarily lifting Platini ban

UEFA President Michel Platini attends a news conference after the draw for the 2015/2016 UEFA Europa League soccer competition at Monaco's Grimaldi Forum in Monte Carlo, Monaco August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

BERNE (Reuters) - Sport’s highest tribunal will meet on Tuesday to consider temporarily lifting the 90-day suspension on Michel Platini barring him from seeking the presidency of soccer’s scandal-plagued governing body FIFA.

Platini, the European soccer boss who until recently was seen as the man to lead FIFA out of its worst ever graft crisis, was suspended by FIFA’s ethics committee on Oct. 8 pending a full investigation into his conduct.

Sepp Blatter, who has been FIFA president since 1998, was also suspended after being swept up by a crisis that has led to criminal investigations into the sport in both Switzerland and the United States.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said it had invited both Platini and FIFA’s legal representatives to a hearing on Tuesday “limited to the issue as to whether or not the provisional 90-day suspension imposed on M. Platini should be temporarily lifted.” It said it would make a decision by Friday.

FIFA will elect a replacement for Blatter on Feb. 26. Platini, who has registered as a candidate, cannot run while he is banned, but might be allowed to take part if he is cleared.

Even a temporary reprieve from the CAS could open the door for Platini, although FIFA’s electoral commission said it would study the case depending on the timing.

The investigation centers on a 2 million Swiss franc ($2 million) payment from FIFA to Platini, a former France team captain and coach who has been UEFA president since 2002, in 2011 for work he completed between 1998 and 2002.

Both Blatter and Platini have denied wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, FIFA’s ethics committee has said it expects to make a final decision in the case, which could involve a ban of several years for both men, by the end of December.

Blatter told a Swiss newspaper on Saturday that he expected to meet the committee in the coming weeks. “Then the ethics committee must prove that I have behaved unethically,” he told the Zurich Tages-Anzeiger. “And one cannot prove what is not true.”

The FIFA corruption scandal broke in May with a police raid and arrests of soccer officials at a Zurich hotel just before a congress of the body. Some 14 officials, including two former vice-presidents, have been indicted in the United States.

Last Thursday, Swiss police arrested two more FIFA officials at the same hotel on suspicion of taking millions of dollars in bribes linked to television rights of football matches.

Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Tom Heneghan

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