Michel Platini expects Sepp Blatter
to attend as a witness in his appeal against a six-year FIFA ban
at the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday.
Platini's office said on Tuesday
that Blatter has been called by FIFA as a witness for the hearing
in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Platini, the UEFA president, was
suspended by FIFA's ethics committee for receiving a two million
Swiss francs ($2 million) payment in 2011 from Blatter, who was
then the FIFA president.
Blatter has also been suspended for
six years and is challenging his sanction. His appeal will be
heard at a later date.
Both men deny any wrongdoing, and
each is effectively the main defense witness for the other.
They claim they had a verbal
contract for Platini to get backdated salary for work as Blatter's
presidential adviser in 1999-2002.
Blatter's spokesman, Thomas Renggli,
did not immediately confirm his plans to attend, and CAS declined
to confirm which senior football officials were scheduled to
FIFA's interim secretary general,
Markus Kattner, is another potential witness, either in person or
by video link. Kattner has been FIFA's finance director for more
than a decade and handled Platini's request for payment in 2010.
FIFA did not immediately respond to
a request for comment on Kattner's status in the case.
Platini's office said charges of
corruption and falsification against him were dropped by FIFA's
ethics committee, which originally requested a life ban last year.
FIFA ethics judges found Platini
guilty last December of conflict of interest and lack of loyalty
and imposed an eight-year ban. FIFA's appeal panel reduced the
sanction by two years as reward for his long service to football.
Still, the three-member CAS panel
will examine the case afresh and has power to impose a life ban if
it judges that bribery and corruption were a factor. FIFA paid the
$2 million to Platini three months before Blatter was re-elected
The hearing on Friday will be
conducted in French despite FIFA's opposition and preference for
English, Platini's office said. The France great typically prefers
to avoid speaking in English at formal events.
Platini and UEFA want a faster
verdict than Blatter, to clarify their position before the
European Championship. The 24-team tournament kicks off on June 10
in Platini's homeland.
If Platini fails to have the ban
overturned, UEFA could organize a presidential election meeting of
its 54 member federations in Paris.
The payment ended Platini's chance
of becoming FIFA president when it became public knowledge last
September, after Swiss federal prosecutors opened a criminal
proceeding against Blatter.
Blatter was replaced in the FIFA
presidential election two months ago by Gianni Infantino,
Platini's long-time right-hand man at UEFA.