Europe

Fifa scandal: Michel Platini drawn closer to Blatter case

Uefa President Michel Platini Image copyright AFP
Image caption The former French international footballer denies wrongdoing

Michel Platini, the head of European football's governing body Uefa, is being treated as "in between a witness and an accused person'' by Swiss prosecutors investigating corruption at the world football authority Fifa.

Prosecutors accuse Fifa president Sepp Blatter of making a "disloyal payment" of $2m (£1.6m) to Mr Platini.

Mr Platini has provided information to the investigation but said he did so as a witness.

Both men deny any wrongdoing.

Mr Platini has said he is still determined to run for Fifa president once Mr Blatter steps down.

Asked whether criminal proceedings had been opened against him, Mr Platini said: "Absolutely not. I was heard last week by the Swiss Authorities only as a person providing information and I cooperated fully."

But this was contradicted by the Swiss attorney general, Michael Lauber, who said: "We didn't interview Mr Platini as a witness, that's not true. We investigated against him in between as a witness and an accused person."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Platini (R) is seen as favourite to succeed Mr Blatter (L)

Mr Lauber also said he was prepared to search the Uefa headquarters as part of the investigation.

The allegations centre on a payment made to Mr Platini in 2011 at Fifa's expense for work he completed almost a decade earlier.

It came just two months before Uefa gave its backing to Blatter's 2011 presidential campaign, leading some to question the timing of it.

Mr Platini said he was told when starting the work that Fifa would not be able to pay him all the money because of its "financial situation".

But Fifa accounts show a revenue surplus of around $83m (£55m) from 1999-2002, when Mr Platini undertook the work as a technical adviser.

Fifa was thrown into turmoil this year when the US and Swiss authorities launched separate investigations into corruption at the body.

Mr Blatter is also suspected of signing a contract that was "unfavourable to Fifa". He is due to stand down next year, but says he will carry on in the role despite the criminal proceedings.