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Platini loses adviser amid FIFA campaign, Swiss probe

10:37 AM October 02, 2015
In this May 29, 2015 file photo, FIFA president Sepp Blatter after his election as President, left, is greeted by UEFA President Michel Platini, right, at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland. AP

In this May 29, 2015 file photo, FIFA president Sepp Blatter after his election as President, left, is greeted by UEFA President Michel Platini, right, at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland. AP

ZURICH, Switzerland—Michel Platini will be without his closest adviser at UEFA as he seeks the FIFA presidency while embroiled in the Swiss investigation into corruption in the global governing body.

Kevin Lamour, who heads Platini’s office, has started a pre-planned leave of absence with no date set for his return, UEFA said Thursday.

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“It had been agreed several months ago that Kevin would take a leave of absence at the end of September after the executive committee meeting in Malta,” UEFA said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The duration of the leave has not yet been confirmed.”

It comes as Platini pursues his campaign to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president in the emergency election in February.

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The deadline to pass integrity checks and be declared a candidate is Oct. 26 and Platini will be hoping the Swiss investigation does not thwart his presidential ambitions. He has not been accused of wrongdoing.

READ: Swiss AG would raid Platini’s office to find ‘real truth’

Platini was questioned by Swiss investigators last Friday about a payment of 2 million Swiss francs (about $2 million) he received from FIFA in 2011 for work carried out up to 2002.

Blatter is being investigated as a suspect, while Platini is being treated “between a witness and an accused person,” according to Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber.

Platini said he only requested payment in 2011 because, when he took the job as a Blatter adviser in 1998, FIFA’s “financial situation” meant he could not be paid the “totality” of his salary. The case could center on what was detailed in a written contract.

Platini has faced scrutiny from across Europe about the explanation for the transaction since writing to national associations on Monday.

“What Platini has let us know so far just isn’t enough,” German football league president Reinhard Rauball told Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

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Blatter has vowed to remain FIFA leader until February despite being under investigation, but Rauball said he should go “at the earliest available opportunity.”

The 79-year-old Blatter’s column in FIFA’s weekly in-house magazine is being published as usual on Friday. FIFA says it will call for the “adoption of quota for women on decision-making bodies.”

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