Fifa scandal: Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini face long bans

Blatter and Platini face long bans

Martyn Ziegler
Saturday 21 November 2015 21:06
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Fifa’s ethics committee is understood to have recommended lengthy bans for the two most powerful men in football: Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, the sport’s world governing body; and his counterpart in Europe at Uefa, Michel Platini.

The committee has just concluded its report into the pair over a £1.3 million payment made to Platini by Fifa in 2011, and although an accompanying statement did not divulge full details, it specifically referred to “requests for sanctions”.

It is understood this request will be for bans of several years, based on four potential ethics code breaches: mismanagement, conflict of interest, false accounting and failure to co-operate with, or criticising, the ethics committee.

The next step is for Hans-Joachim Eckert, the judge who heads the adjudicatory panel of the ethics committee, to decide whether to summon Platini and Blatter to disciplinary hearings. He is likely to make that decision early next week after studying the report.

Both men have denied any wrongdoing. The pair were suspended for 90 days in October while the ethics committee investigated corruption claims against them.

Both had appeals against their bans dismissed by Fifa’s appeals committee earlier last week, and on Friday Platini took his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Blatter is standing down as Fifa president in February, when an election to find his successor will be held. Platini had hoped to be a candidate to replace him but that is looking increasingly unlikely.

Fifa’s electoral committee has said Platini’s registration will not be processed while he is suspended, although it could reconsider if he wins the CAS appeal. However, Eckert’s decision could change all that.

There was no written agreement for the 2m Swiss Francs payment – Blatter and Platini say it was an oral agreement made between them 13 years previously.

It is also being investigated by Swiss legal authorities as a “disloyal payment”, and the fact the pair did not report the outstanding debt to Fifa’s financial department in the intervening years could be a case of false accounting.

Blatter has been president of Fifa since 1998, and Platini has been head of Uefa since 2007.

PA

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