UEFA wants FIFA to investigate ‘smear campaign’ against Platini
GENEVA – UEFA has complained to FIFA about an alleged attempt to discredit its president Michel Platini, who is currently the favorite to succeed Sepp Blatter as head of the world governing body.
A newspaper-style article sent anonymously this month to German-language media was titled ”Platini: Leichen im Keller” – ”Platini: Skeletons in the closet.” UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino told The Associated Press on Sunday that he asked FIFA to investigate if the document came from its headquarters, as a rift deepens between former allies Blatter and Platini.
”I have written to (FIFA secretary general) Jerome Valcke and asked FIFA to investigate it,” Infantino said. Infantino said the letter was also sent to FIFA ethics committee prosecutor Cornel Borbely and FIFA audit panel chairman Domenico Scala, who is overseeing the Feb. 26 presidential election to appoint Blatter’s successor.
German and Swiss newspapers have written about the Platini document being circulated though have not published the near-1,400 words article, which has been seen by the AP. Swiss daily Tages Anzeiger said a FIFA staffer had acknowledged being a co-author of the document.
The FIFA staffer did not respond to an email message from the AP, and FIFA also declined comment. Blatter talked about his strained relations with Platini in an interview published on Saturday by Dutch daily De Volkskrant. Suggesting there was ”an anti-FIFA virus in Nyon,” the Swiss town where UEFA is based, Blatter said his friendship with Platini turned sour after his former protege was elected to lead European football in 2007.
Blatter told the reporters he felt snubbed by UEFA’s VIP seating arrangements at the 2008 European Championships for the opening match played in Vienna, Austria. The same anecdote is repeated in the Platini document sent to German-speaking media.
The article suggests Platini’s links to Qatar mean he should not be FIFA president. He voted for the 2022 World Cup host and his son, who is a lawyer, subsequently was hired by a Qatari sovereign wealth fund which owns French champion Paris Saint-Germain.
”He was one of Europe’s most skillful players of all time,” the article says of the former France great. ”But is he great enough to be FIFA President? Anyone taking one look in the direction of Qatar can have only one answer: No.”