Platini says hopes to be back at UEFA for Euro 2016
By Cecile Mantovani and and Brian Homewood
ZURICH (Reuters) - Banned UEFA president Michel Platini said he hoped to clear his name in time for the 2016 European Championship soccer tournament in June after attending a hearing on Monday to appeal against his suspension.
Platini was banned for eight years in December along with FIFA president Sepp Blatter over a payment of two million Swiss francs ($2.03 million) made to the Frenchman in 2011 by FIFA with Blatter's approval for work done a decade earlier.
"It's been a very good hearing, very well conducted, with people who have been sincere," Platini said after the hearing by FIFA's Appeal Committee. "I am quite happy with the way it has gone.
"I hope to work again as soon as possible, go back to the office as soon as the decision has been given by the Appeal Committee and then prepare the Euro (tournament)," he told reporters after an eight-hour hearing at the headquarters of soccer's world ruling body. "There are important things to do.
"I am waiting to come back to work on this great football party... which will take place in France," he added, referring to the 24-team Euro 2016 finals being held from June 10-July 10.
FIFA's Ethics Committee, which imposed the bans on Blatter and Platini in December, said the payment, made at a time when the former was seeking re-election, lacked transparency and presented conflicts of interest.
Both men have denied any wrongdoing and Blatter's appeal will be held on Tuesday. They can take their cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if they lose their appeals.
Platini arrived at FIFA on foot from a nearby hotel and left driving a black car. As he drove out of the building, he hooted and called over reporters who had been waiting for him at a different gate. Continued...