Michel Platini will be allowed to address European soccer leaders before his successor as UEFA president is elected, despite serving a four-year ban from the sport.
UEFA’s eagerness to ensure Platini can deliver a speech in Athens on Wednesday is in keeping with how the body has stood by the disgraced Frenchman since he was first suspended in November. No interim leader was installed as Platini was allowed to exhaust all legal routes in an attempt to overturn his ban over a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million) from FIFA in 2011.
The ban prevents Platini from holding any position of power in soccer or carrying out any activity that gives the impression he is still acting as an official. But the FIFA ethics committee said UEFA asked “for an exception for Mr. Platini to be able to make a short farewell address” at the congress in the Greek capital.
“The chairman of the adjudicatory chamber, Mr. Hans-Joachim Eckert, granted this exception as a gesture of humanity,” the judge’s office said in a statement to The Associated Press.
After being led since 2006 by Platini, a former France captain, UEFA’s next president will be a largely unknown administrator either UEFA vice president Michael van Praag or Slovenian federation leader Aleksander Ceferin.