Michel Platini has attempted to explain why he waited nine years for a £1.35m payment from FIFA.UEFA’s president said FIFA president Sepp Blatter told him the organisation could not afford to pay him at the time.
Mr Platini, who says he still intends to stand for the FIFA presidency, has been under pressure to explain the payment since last Friday when Swiss prosecutors revealed it was at the heart of a criminal investigation into Mr Blatter.
Mr Platini and Mr Blatter say the money was paid for the Frenchman’s work as an adviser to the FIFA president between 1998 and 2002, but has not until now explained the nine-year delay.
Offering his third explanation for the payment in four days, the UEFA president told AFP: “Mr Blatter informed me it was not initially possible to pay totality of my salary because of FIFA’s financial situation.”
FIFA’s accounts for 1999-2002 show a revenue surplus of CHF115m (£75m).
Last Friday, after Mr Platini was questioned by prosecutors about the payment, he offered no explanation for the delay but said he was “pleased to be able to clarify all matters”.
On Monday he wrote to UEFA’s 54 member nations saying the £1.35m was a “final payment” for the work.
Questions have been raised about the timing of the payment, coming months before the 2011 FIFA presidential election, in which Mr Platini decided not to stand but urged UEFA members to back Mr Blatter.
Mr Platini said the timing was “irrelevant since I never had any plans of becoming a candidate”.
Both Mr Platini and Mr Blatter are under investigation by FIFA’s ethics committee and face possible suspension from their roles, but the UEFA president said he still hopes to succeed his onetime mentor.
“I am still determined to present myself as a candidate for the FIFA presidency so I can introduce the governance reforms that are necessary to restore the order and credibility to world football,” the Frenchman said.
“There is no doubt about my integrity. I have done nothing wrong.”
While Mr Blatter is the subject of the criminal investigation, Mr Platini is being treated as “between a witness and an accused person”, according to Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber.
Speaking in Zurich, Mr Lauber said he would follow the evidence in the case where it led, and did not rule out raiding UEFA headquarters.
“I will do anything, if I can do something, to clear up what’s the real truth and if I have enough elements to go there I could not exclude that I also have to go there.”