Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Michel Platini will boycott a FIFA Ethics Committee hearing at the end of this week, after its spokesperson said he would be banned for several years. “In this case, the issue of corruption is well founded”, FIFA Ethics Committee spokesperson Andreas Bantel told L’Equipe after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had upheld its provisional suspension of Platini on Wednesday last week. “And assuming that the corruption argument is not accepted by the trial chamber, there are in question several other offences against penal law, such as conflict of interest, mismanagement or falsification of accounts. Naturally, all of this is enough to suspend Blatter and Platini for several years. Platini will certainly be suspended for several years.”
Platini’s lawyers said that Bantel’s comments had breached basic legal principles. “He has breached the presumption of innocence and demonstrates the political objectives being pursued by FIFA’s Ethics Committee”, said a statement provided to AFP. “The hearing set for 18 December will therefore be of no use. The punishment for Mr. Platini seems to have already been set by the Ethics Committee even before his explanations have been heard. We strongly condemn such practices, which highlight the sham procedure which we have been subject to for these past few weeks.”
Bantel has since attempted to backtrack on his statement, telling L’Equipe that he was speaking in a personal capacity. He will not be one of the decision makers on the panel at the FIFA Ethics Committee hearing on 17/18 December.
“It looks as if the decision is already a done deal”, said Stephen Hornsby, a Partner with Goodman Derrick. “This is contrary to Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which requires cases to be heard by an independent and impartial tribunal”. Hornsby added that former England manager Don Revie had managed to overturn a ten-year ban imposed by the FA in 1979, after a court ruled that the members of an FA tribunal who had criticised Revie ahead of the hearing should be disqualified on the likelihood of bias.
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