Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
UEFA President Michel Platini has said that FIFA didn’t pay him for consultancy work carried out from 1998 until 2002 because it couldn’t afford it at the time, and that he didn’t pursue payment until 2011. As the above graph shows, FIFA reported a net loss of CHF3 million (US$3.1 million) in 2002, however this followed two years of significant net profit which more than made up for its CHF105 million (US$107.5 million) loss in 1999, the year after Platini started work for FIFA. According to its published accounts, FIFA has reported a significant profit in every year apart from 1999 and 2002.
As reported by the Sports Integrity Initiative over the weekend, the Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is investigating why Platini was not paid for work he carried out for FIFA until 2011, nine years after the event. Platini has denied any suggestion that FIFA’s settlement of the owed money had anything to do with his decision not to stand against Joseph S. Blatter in a 2011 FIFA Presidential election. The payment also closely followed FIFA’s decision to appoint Russia and Qatar as hosts of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups, respectively. Platini recently admitted that he changed his vote to Qatar at the last minute.
There is no suggestion or evidence that Platini has done anything wrong. His decision not to seek payment until 2011, a year in which FIFA reported relatively small profits, may just be coincidental. However, critics will argue that his decision to seek payment at that time represented a poor choice, given the proximity of a FIFA election he was expected to contest and the controversial ‘double appointment’ of Russia and Qatar as World Cup hosts, and the allegations of bribery that followed.
“Like I explained to the Swiss authorities, I received only part of the agreed salary between 1998 to 2002”, Platini told AFP. “This occurred because at the time, FIFA informed me that they would not be able to pay me the total agreed amount. Of course, all the moneys received at the time were declared to the pertinent authorities […] Mr. Blatter informed me when I started my role as his advisor that it was not initially possible to pay the totality of my salary because of FIFA’s financial situation at that time. I never doubted, however, that the remaining amount owed to me would be paid eventually, so I did not actively pursue it. I even put the matter to the side for a while, before finally requesting that the outstanding balance was paid in 2011 […] The fact that this payment was made a few months before the FIFA Presidential elections is irrelevant, since I never had any plans of becoming a candidate. As a matter of fact, I was extremely happy to be re-elected as UEFA President at the UEFA congress in Paris in March of 2011.”
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