Four years after a ban for financial wrongdoing thwarted his chances of becoming Fifa president, Michel Platini is free to work in football again.
However, the former Uefa president — once seen as the heir apparent to Fifa's Sepp Blatter — said yesterday he is unsure where and when he will return to the game that has dominated his life even after his stellar playing career with France.
"I have some idea but it's difficult to speak today," Platini said of his plans, hours before the ban was to expire.
Any comeback into a senior role would likely force him to pay Fifa a fine of 60,000 Swiss francs that is three years overdue. Platini is still challenging that in court and continues to dispute the allegations that led to his four-year ban from all football activities. Charges of receiving an irregular payment and wrongful pension entitlement approved by Blatter derailed Platini's hopes of succeeding his former mentor as the head of the global game.
Now 64, Platini looks hardly to have aged at all during that ban, which became the longest holiday of his storied life in football. He said he is keeping all options open but pointed out the next elections for top roles at Fifa, Uefa and the French association are "some years ahead".
In the Paris headquarters of the French federation, the 77-year-old Noel Le Graet, recently promoted by Uefa to a seat on Fifa's ruling council, is in office until 2021.
"It's not now," said Platini, who captained and coached the national team, and organised the 1998 World Cup won by France at home. "I have time, if I come back to this."
Currently, his focus is on what is likely the last legal fight against allegations upheld so far by two Fifa judicial bodies, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Switzerland's supreme court.
Platini has challenged the Swiss federal ruling at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and "that means I don't pay this fine" until a ruling is issued.