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Platini won’t return watch

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Platini won’t return watch

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GENEVA (AP) – UEFA President Michel Platini denounced FIFA’s handling over a luxury gifts controversy yesterday and world football’s governing body then disclosed it spent at least $140 000 on watches for officials at the World Cup.

Platini was angered by FIFA publicly rebuking football officials who accepted gifts at the World Cup, saying he will donate about $27 000 to charity rather than return the Parmigiani watch given to him by the Brazilian federation.

On Thursday, FIFA told officials they had until next month to return the Brazilian football confederation watch or face ethics proceedings for accepting a gift that had more than a “symbolic or trivial value”.

Platini, one of FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s biggest critics, questioned why the governing body is only now making an issue out of the Parmigiani watches.

“I was very surprised by the FIFA press release. I think that the best thing would have been to call us, to say that the ethics committee has done so-and-so and they’re not pleased,” Platini said through a translator.

“But if the ethics committee was not pleased, they should have told us that four months ago in Brazil, when we received the watches.

“They were aware that we were receiving these watches because everybody received them.”

Then, in response to questions from The Associated Press, FIFA said it had spent around $143 200 on Longines watches for delegates attending its congress in June on the eve of the World Cup. FIFA hasn’t detailed spending on other gifts in Brazil.