Ex-UEFA official pours doubt on Michel Platini 'memo'

Berlin: A former general secretary of UEFA has expressed doubts about a document issued by European football's general body, which appears to support Michel Platini's claim he was paid by FIFA. French newspaper Journal du Dimanche say they possess a copy of a document which backs up Platini's claims he was paid an annual salary "of one million Swiss francs" for work as an advisor to world football's governing body FIFA.

The paper reports that the document was distributed during a UEFA executive committee meeting in the Swedish capital Stockholm on November 12, 1998. Platini is being investigated by FIFA and faces a life-time ban if found guilty of a breach of ethics. But Gerhard Aigner, who attended the Stockholm meeting as UEFA's general secretary more than 17 years ago, says he has doubts about the document's authenticity.

"Platini was not a member of UEFA's executive committee at the time, so why would UEFA have any interest in his private affairs?" Aigner, 72, told SID, an AFP subsidiary on Monday. "I can't imagine there ever was such a document." Platini, the current UEFA president, was handed a provisional 90-day ban from all football activities on October 8 while under investigation over a suspect payment of $2 million paid by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is also suspended, in 2011 allegedly for work carried out in 2002.

The FIFA ethics committee will question Platini, and Blatter, on the affair between December 16 and 18. Platini's lawyer Thibaud d'Ales said at the end of November that the ethics body's investigatory chamber wants the UEFA chief banned for life and is hopeful the document in question will clear his client's name. The 60-year-old former France great had previously been the favourite to become the next FIFA president when Blatter officially stands down and an election is held in February.

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