Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Uefa boss Michel Platini banned for eight years
World soccer governing body’s ethics committee also fines Blatter 50,000 Swiss francs and Platini 80,000 Swiss francs
Fifa’s ethics committee on Monday banned suspended president Sepp Blatter and Uefa boss Michel Platini for eight years from all soccer-related activities.
Ethics judges ruled that Blatter broke the Fifa Code of Ethics rules on conflicts of interest, breach of loyalty and offering gifts.
Platini broke rules on conflict of interest and loyalty.
Both denied wrongdoing in 2011 when Platini took US$2 million of Fifa money approved by Blatter as uncontracted salary for work as a presidential adviser from 1999-2002.
Blatter was fined 50,000 Swiss francs (HK$390,000) and Platini was fined 80,000 Swiss francs.
The decision, which comes as a corruption scandal swirls around Fifa, means that Blatter’s 17 years at the helm of world soccer will end in disgrace, and spells the end of Platini’s hopes of replacing the 79-year-old Swiss in a presidential election in February.
Blatter later said he would appeal against his ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
He insisted he still views himself as Fifa president despite the ban.
Speaking at a news conference, Blatter said: “I fight for me and I will fight for Fifa. Suspended for eight years for what?”
“I’m sorry as president of Fifa I’m this punching ball.”
Platini, a former France international who was one of the finest players of his generation and had led the European soccer body Uefa since 2002, had been the favourite to win that election until he was suspended.
The ethics inquiry began in the wake of the Swiss attorney general’s decision to open criminal proceedings against Blatter over the payment to Platini. The office is also investigating the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals to Russia and Qatar.
In the United States, prosecutors have indicted 27 current or former soccer officials, including eight former Fifa executive committee members, over allegations that they ran bribery schemes connected to the sale of television rights for soccer competitions. Twelve people and two sports marketing companies have been convicted.
“Neither in his written statement nor in his personal hearing was Mr Blatter able to demonstrate another legal basis for this payment,” the ethics judges said. “By failing to place Fifa’s interests first and abstain from doing anything which could be contrary to Fifa’s interests, Mr Blatter violated his fiduciary duty to Fifa.
“Mr Platini failed to act with complete credibility and integrity, showing unawareness of the importance of his duties and concomitant obligations and responsibilities,” the judges said.
Associated Press, Reuters