French football great Michel Platini has openly made clear his deep mistrust of and loss of confidence in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). By 2016, lawyers writing to the CAS were emphatic that the Court should explain its rationale for maintaining a 4 year ban from all football activities on him, which had suspiciously been reduced from the initial 8 years, down to 6 years on appeal.
Platini’s lawyers demanded an explanation vide a letter which sought it “in as brief a time as possible” and which also considered the conduct of CAS on his matter “unacceptable”.
Platini had been sentenced for a $2 million payment by FIFA in what was referred to as a “disloyal payment”.
“The CAS panel was of the opinion that a severe sanction could be justified in view of the superior functions carried out by Mr. Platini, as FIFA VP and UEFA President, the absence of any remorse and the impact that this matter has had on FIFA’s reputation!” the ruling read in part.
It is this clause of the ruling that continues to baffle right thinking pundits including, but not limited to, Platini’s defence team.
Their question remains, why reduce the sanction from 6 years and make it 4 years if the CAS found him culpable? Shouldn’t CAS have upheld the sanction of the FIFA Appeals Board which reduced sentence from the 8 years previously meted out by the Adjudicatory Chamber, of 6 years?
Why not 3 years instead of 4 years for the sake of uniformity?
Platini has a theory that CAS was working in cahoots with his former UEFA SG Gianni Infantino, now the FIFA President, to keep him barred and technically ineligible from contesting the FIFA Presidency in 2019.
The FIFA elections of February 2016 were filler-elections in that the elected President was only meant to complete the 4-year term that had been embarked upon by the now-disgraced Sepp Blatter in 2015.
Infantino needed his own full 4-year tenure and apparently he needed to knock-off his perceived opponents like bowling pins, using whatever legal technicalities he could muster.
Obviously, Platini was one of the few people with more gravitas than Infantino to contest and win the 2019 elections and .there was legitimate reason for Infantino to be quaking in his boots at the prospect of having to slug it out with his mercurial UEFA President.
Platini played football at the highest levels, featuring for clubs Nancy, St. Etienne and Juventus. He was nicknamed “Le Roi” (The King) for his on and off-field abilities and leadership.
In the early to mid-80s, Platini was the heart and soul of the French National Team (Les Bleus) which won the 1984 European Championships and was a key player in the teams that reached the Semi-finals of the 1982 and 1986 FIFA World Cups.
He held goal-scoring records which were only broken as late as 2007 and he won the Ballon d’Or three consecutive years in 1983, 1984 and 1985.
Most importantly, Platini served 4 years as the Head Coach of the French football National team – Les Bleus.
He was a co-organizer of the highly successful 1998 FIFA World Cup in France and ultimately served 8 solid years as UEFA President and FIFA Vice-President from 2007 until his ignominious resignation in 2016.
This was a man who had the name “FIFA President” imprinted on his forehead and it was possible that he would have been able to come from the FIFA Ethics sanction and re-bound straight in the FIFA Presidency.
Anyone with half a brain would concede that there was no one better-rounded football-wise, more grounded and more networked, who was already within the proximity of the FIFA Presidency than Platini.
We can even wager our last dime that his support roots would emanate from places like the Élysée Palace, where we often see the aficionados of World football make regular pilgrimages to meet the holder of the position.
Comparatively, Giovanni Vincenzo (Gianni) Infantino has had a less than career in football, like many of his predecessors. A quick skimming through his profile shows a worrisome trend of constant breach of FIFA code of Ethics, where football accolades ought to be.
Infantino worked as the Secretary General of the International Center for Sports Studies (CIES) at the University of Neuchâtel, before transiting to UEFA in August 2000, and later appointed as the Director of UEFA’s Legal Affairs and Club Licensing Division in January 2004.
He became Deputy General Secretary of UEFA in 2007, and Secretary General of UEFA in October 2009.
During his tenure as UEFA GS, he was involved in, admittedly, the grossest violations of UEFA’s own rules that he had helped create – Financial Fairplay rules.
By scheming with the Qatari and Abu Dhabi magnates, he enabled them to circumvent the Financial Fairplay rules and inject unprecedented sums of money into French club Paris-St. Germain and English club Manchester City.
At one point, when it became common knowledge of the breach to these rules, Infantino (UEFA GS) directly negotiated an agreement with Manchester City”, bypassing the Financial Control Panel of European football’s governing body where he agreed a proposal was for a “fine of 20 million euros instead of 60 million euros, but avoided the most severe UEFA sanctions of being left out of the Champions League.
When Infantino became FIFA President in 2016, he against started getting himself in all manner of scandals which were ultimately brought to the attention of the FIFA Ethics committee.
The Ethics committee at the time had gained a reputation for ruthlessness by imposing serious sanctions on officials of the stature of Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini.
Infantino was very insecure having Hans Joakim Eckert and Cornel Borbély as heads of the Adjudicatory and Investigatory chambers of the FIFA Ethics committee respectively.
And so, as has become the hallmark of his lack of leadership, Infantino engineered the eviction of both Eckert and Borbély by the FIFA Council in May 2017.
Infantino then went ahead to nominate the most laughable replacements to head both chambers of the committee and composition of the committee.
Clearly, Infantino may have been scared witless at the prospect of facing off against Platini at the FIFA polls in 2019 and went a step further to ensure that such aspirations were neutered from the get-go on a legal technicality.
Infantino had caused the Swiss Attorney-General and two of his deputies to recuse themselves from all FIFA investigations and prosecutions of cases related to at least 15 countries.
This was occasioned by the discovery that Infantino and this Swiss AG (Michael Lauber) had secretly met on 3 undocumented occasions, in breach of any known Ethical code and obviously to influence the direction and outcome of some of these investigations.
More importantly, Infantino has had very close ties with Valais prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold, whom it was suspected was the link he used to access Michael Lauber. These links prompted the Valais Attorney General’s office to open an investigation into Arnolds conduct and the possibility of bribe-taking from FIFA.
Journalists involved in the Football Leaks investigations claimed that Arnold had received invitations to World Cup matches in Russia in 2018, to a FIFA Congress in Mexico in May 2016 and to the Champions League Final in Milan. For Russia, Arnold even posted a photo he took at the VVIP stands together with the President of Spain, and posted it on his Facebook page.
The Football Leaks investigative team also alleged Arnold helped Infantino arrange secret meetings in 2016 with Lauber, whose office was investigating numerous cases of alleged corruption against FIFA.
Ironically, whilst the Valais AGs office exonerated Rinaldo Arnold of those accusations of bribery and arranging meetings between Infantino and Lauber, the Swiss courts decreed last month that Lauber MUST recuse himself from all FIFA investigations and prosecutions, for the impropriety of having the 3 confirmed secret meetings with Infantino.
It is probable that one of the investigations by the Swiss AGs office must surely be about the $10 million bribe paid by South Africa to acquire the hosting rights to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, an investigation which in turn has been used to manipulate current South African FA President Dr. Danny Jordaan (who was the CEO of the SA 2010 World Cup Organizing committee and key to paying the bribe) into supporting the recolonization of African football.
European journalists were also the first to raise concerns regarding the unseemly relationship between Infantino and top sports lawyer Michele Bernasconi. This was after Platini and his lawyers sounded the alarm at the clear external interference of his case at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).
CAS is obviously supposed to be an independent arbiter of matter brought before it but for some reason, this central ethos has been disregarded where FIFA cases are concerned. What then is the use of a compromised CAS?
Just like it was postulated that Infantino used Rinaldo Arnold to access Michael Lauber at the Swiss AGs office, it is generally accepted that Infantino uses his longtime friend and colleague Michele Bernasconi to influence the CAS SG and fellow Swiss, Matthieu Reeb.
Obviously, the SG of a court like CAS is extremely powerful and influential in all the decisions that are made by this apex court on matters brought before it.
In most circumstances, Reeb would influence the composition of arbitration panels by presenting his preferred choices to the CAS President for rubber-stamping. These nominees would be amenable to the influence of FIFA.
After getting elected back into the FIFA Presidency unopposed in Paris last June for his own full 4-year term, Infantino realized that 4 years normally pass in a jiffy and that by 2023 it would be back to the ballot. By then, Infantino would only be a paltry 53 years of age and certainly not looking to retire.
It seemed so cliché that soon after the FIFA Congress in Paris in June, Platini was arrested and detained by French police over questions surrounding the granting of hosting rights for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Apparently, suspicion was raised because Platini accompanied Qatar’s prime minister at the time, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the Élysée Palace for a luncheon hosted by then French President Nicolas Sarközy.
Obviously the suspicion was underscored because this luncheon took place 9 days to the vote, at which Platini cast his lot with the Qataris.
Certainly FIFA Ethics committee is beginning to re-shape global statecraft where hosting rights make a central cog on relationships between Nations.
In early 2018, President Donald Trump openly dangled a carrot and a stick when he effectively threatened to cut aid and other forms of support to countries that opposed the joint North American bid for the FIFA World Cup 2026.
Despite FIFA protestations through the now familiar press releases, Trump repeated the threat while hosting Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari at the White House.
Will the current USA Football Federation President be arrested post-2030 for being part of the scheme to influence the outcome of the 2026 vote which was won overwhelmingly by the UNITED bid (USA –Canada –Mexico)?
Currently, Liberian Musa Hassan Bility has filed an appeal at CAS over the decision by FIFA to take over the management of CAF and install its own (FIFA’s) Secretary-General, the tainted Fatma Samoura, as a General Delegate for indefinite tenures of 6 months each.
Should CAS rule in favor of Bility (which any impartial panel of judges or arbitrators would) the entire house of cards that Infantino, CAF President Ahmad and FIFA SG Fatma Samoura have been building would collapse.
The consequences of such a ruling are so critical, because a financial audit of CAF by independent auditors would obviously unearth the type of financial misdeeds that would land squarely at the door of Gianni Infantino.
Up in smoke also, would be his plans to control the 54 votes in the African basket by a mixture of more access to un-audited grants by the corrupt and greedy African FAs or the subtle blackmail of dissenters and free spirits in Africa.
It was for this precise reason that Infantino had his highly amenable Ethics committee ban Bility for 10-years plus a fine of CHF 500,000, a day after he filed this case for arbitration at CAS.
Can CAS really be an honest broker in the Bility case considering the level of inappropriate attention it dealt with the Platini case, to the extent that the normally placid and reserved former midfield maestro had to complain bitterly in the news media?
Already, FIFA has scored once by getting the CAS to allow it to be enjoined in the Bility case, despite a known history of NEVER, EVER getting itself enjoined in matters related to its own members.
Bility has every right to be concerned, despite putting on a brave front in the face of this Swiss Behemoth (FIFA) and with his matter now in the hands of 3 Swiss Nationals (Infantino – Bernasconi – Reeb) whose interests seem to be to keep their man Infantino in power for the foreseeable future, at whatever cost.
One more worrying note is that former South Sudan Football Association (SSFA) Chabur Got Alei was banned by FIFA on 24th May of this year. Chabur just like Musa Hassan Bility was one of Gianni Infantino’s primary supporter, who went against the tide by defying then acting FIFA President Issa Hayatou and endorsing little known Gianni Infantino back during his campaigns in 2016.
Immediately upon election, Gianni Infantino made his first foreign visit out of Zurich to Juba in South Sudan, to personally thank Chabur being the first to openly lend his support during that election. So it came as a shocker when Gianni Infantino instigated his ban from all footballing activities, plus a hefty fine of 500,000 francs to boot.
A strange correlation is that both Chabur’s and Musa’s rulings were made on the same day (12th February 2019) but each was delivered separately.
The Swiss appear to have a birth defect that allows them to rationalize even the spillage of blood (as evidenced by their doing roaring business with the Nazis as these lunatics crushed Jewish skulls to pry out gold teeth, which were later smelted and stored in Swiss vaults) where money and their parochial interests are concerned.
The only thing the Swiss have never been able to rationalize, it would seem, is INK!
Infantino, “O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!” Whenever we deceive others, in order to make things better for ourselves in the moment, we deceive ourselves most of all” (Walter Scott)