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'A new game, a final': UEFA's Platini makes last appeal against six-year ban

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By Alasdair Sandford
'A new game, a final': UEFA's Platini makes last appeal against six-year ban

Suspended UEFA president Michel Platini arrived early on Friday morning for what was arguably the match of his life, at least off the pitch: an appeal against a six-year ban from football over an allegedly irregular payment.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the Swiss city of Lausanne is to rule on a decision by FIFA’s ethics committee.

It said a fee of two million Swiss francs (1.82 million euros) the Frenchman received in 2011 for work done a decade earlier lacked transparency and presented conflicts of interest.

“If I am rehabilitated in my rights, I’ll be at (this summer’s) Euro tournament. If I am not rehabilitated in my rights, I’ll listen to the commentators,” Platini told reporters.

The payment to Platini was made by FIFA with the approval of its then president Sepp Blatter when he was seeking re-election. Both men, who deny wrongdoing, had longer bans reduced to six years by FIFA’s Appeal Committee in February.

Blatter is expected to appear as a witness in Platini’s case, which is unrelated to FIFA’s numerous other financial scandals. The Arbitration Court could make its decision as early as next week.

The last time the European Championship finals were held on French soil in 1984 it was Platini who led his country to glory on the pitch.

He had been hoping to preside over this year’s tournament. This is the last chance for what would be a highly symbolic rehabilitation.