European football’s governing body Uefa has called for a swift resolution to the investigation into suspended president Michel Platini.
Platini has been named as a person of interest to Swiss prosecutors in the criminal investigation launched against outgoing Fifa president Sepp Blatter, relating specifically to a payment of £1.35 million made by Blatter to the Uefa chief in 2011.
The former France international had declared himself a candidate to replace Blatter at the head of football’s governing body, with a new president set to be elected next February.
Uefa released a statement last week confirming that Platini retained their support, despite the mounting pressure on his position during the corruption investigations, and the organisation has now urged the parties involved to clarify “the merits of the case” against its president by the middle of next month.
A statement from Uefa’s Executive Committee and Thursday’s meeting of the 54 member nations, delivered by general secretary Gianni Infantino, read: “We support Mr Platini’s right to a due process and a fair trial and the chance to clear his name.
“We strongly call on all parties in the process to work very rapidly to ensure there is a final decision on the merits of the case by, at the latest, mid November 2015.”
“Mr Platini was not present at any of today’s meetings due to his current provisional suspension,” Infantino added.
“At both Exco and member association meetings, a presentation was made by Mr Platini’s lawyer on the case which led to his suspension. Mr Platini’s lawyer explained all the facts surrounding his working relationship with Sepp Blatter. Following the presentations, every person present had the opportunity to ask questions and seek further clarification.”
Infantino later stressed that the timing of next February’s Fifa elections should not be changed despite the investigations.
He added of Platini’s own bid: “He is already a candidate for the Fifa presidency. He has submitted his candidacy, even though, while provisionally suspended, he cannot campaign.
“Once we have a final decision from CAS then the final decision will also relate to his candidacy. If he is cleared, he’s obviously a candidate again.”
Infantino remains confident that Platini is the right man to bring reform to Fifa should he be cleared in the investigation and subsequently elected as president.
“We have some experience in knowing how CAS is operated. If there is no final decision [by mid-November], we’ll convene, speak openly about it, and tell you in as transparent a way as possible to try to give you all the explanations we can.
“All 54 [member nations] have come here in just one week, which shows how much they care about Uefa and about the situation.
“I’d like to highlight that it was Mr Platini who wrote to the Ethics Committee to ask for things to be explained.
“Nobody in isolation can change or reform Fifa, it must be a collective will. There must be a change in the leadership, in the philosophy, and everyone has to buy into this.
“I see no reason why Mr Platini, if he is cleared and elected as Fifa president afterwards, is not the man to do that.”