GENEVA – Michel Platini has appealed against his six-year ban from soccer to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, finally able to take his case to sport's highest court only days after the FIFA presidency was decided.
Platini, the UEFA president, is seeking to annul the sanction confirmed by the FIFA appeal committee last week, CAS said Wednesday in a statement.
No hearing date has been set and the procedural timetable outlined by the court indicates that Platini has not asked for a fast-track verdict.
The case, provoked by Platini's $2 million payment from FIFA in 2011, denied him a shot at replacing Sepp Blatter as president of FIFA. Gianni Infantino, Platini's right-hand man as general secretary at UEFA, won Friday's election.
Throughout his legal fight with FIFA's judicial bodies in recent months, Platini said he would only get a fair and unbiased hearing at the sports court in Lausanne, Switzerland.
"This decision is in reality a political decision taken by the FIFA administration," Platini said last week when his initial eight-year ban by FIFA's ethics committee was cut to six. "I am the victim of a system that had only one goal: To prevent me from becoming FIFA president in order to protect certain interests that I was about to bring into question."
Platini and Blatter were banned for conflict of interest over the secret transaction. Both have constantly denied wrongdoing and claimed they had a verbal deal for additional salary that Platini would receive for working as Blatter's presidential adviser from 1999-2002.
CAS did not say Wednesday if FIFA's ethics committee has also appealed to increase the ban. Life bans were previously requested if bribery could be proved.
Blatter has also pledged to appeal his six-year ban at CAS.
FIFA appeal judges reduced their original eight-year bans to six for "the services they had rendered to FIFA, UEFA and football in general over the years."
Still, the eased sanctions have little practical benefit for Platini, whose UEFA presidential term expires in 2019, and Blatter, who turns 80 next week.
Platini remains the UEFA president in name with no interim leader appointed. UEFA has said it will not replace Platini with an election until the appeals process at CAS is over. That typically takes several months.
Today, UEFA has no working president or general secretary ahead of an executive committee meeting on Friday.
Infantino entered the FIFA contest in October as a last-minute option and promised to stand aside if his boss was cleared by the FIFA ethics committee in December.
Instead, the former lawyer from Switzerland became the unlikely successor to Blatter, taking a job that Platini often described as his destiny.