Under pressure UEFA chief Platini loses key advisor
By Simon Evans
ZURICH (Reuters) - European soccer chief Michel Platini, facing scrutiny over a payment from FIFA president Sepp Blatter, has lost the services of one of his key advisers.
UEFA, the governing body for soccer in Europe, said on Thursday that Kevin Lamour, head of the president's office was taking a leave of absence.
A UEFA spokesman said Lamour's decision was "completely" unrelated to the Swiss investigation of Platini's receipt in 2011 of a 2 million Swiss franc payment from Blatter.
"It had been agreed several months ago that Kevin would take a leave of absence at the end of September after the Executive Committee meeting in Malta," said the spokesman.
"The duration of the leave has not yet been confirmed."
While Lamour's departure is unconnected to the investigation and the scrutiny of Platini, it leaves the Frenchman without a trusted advisor at a difficult time.
Platini, who denies any wrongdoing, is bidding to replace the outgoing Blatter as head of FIFA in February's election.
But before that vote, Platini must deal with a Swiss prosecutor's investigation and a reported FIFA Ethics inquiry into the Blatter payment. The Frenchman must also, like all prospective candidates, pass a FIFA integrity check before his nomination as a candidate is formally accepted. Continued...