Banned for eight years alongwith Michel Platini, by FIFA's ethics committee for abusing their positions, former FIFA chief vows to clear his name off corruption and return to lead world football again
Zurich: Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, the two most powerful men in world football, have been banned for eight years by FIFA's ethics committee for abusing their positions.
Also Read: FIFA bans Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini for eight years
Michel Platini and Not sorry at all: Sepp Blatter during a press conference to respond to the FIFA ethics committee's verdict banning him for eight years at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland yesterday. (Pic/AP/PTI)
The bans were imposed by FIFA's ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert for a "disloyal payment" of 2 million Swiss francs (£1.3million) made to UEFA president Platini in 2011, signed off by outgoing FIFA president Blatter.
Blatter, who made a defiant but rambling appearance at a news conference in Zurich following the announcement, has also been fined 50,000 Swiss francs (£33,700) and Platini 80,000 Swiss francs (£54,000) by for ethics code breaches. The charges found proven included offering and accepting gifts, conflict of interest and violating their fiduciary duty to FIFA.
Blatter (79), appearing wearing a plaster on his face following the removal of a mole, vowed to fight the sanctions. He told a packed conference: "I will fight for me and I will fight for FIFA. Suspended for eight years for what? I am sorry that as president of FIFA I am this punching ball.
I am sorry for football. I am sorry for the 400 plus FIFA team members. I am also sorry about me and about how I am treated in this world of humanitarian qualities. Human beings need to be respected. It has created a lot of collateral damage in the families. My family was mocked. I'll be back."
Blatter and Platini both claimed the payment was made following a verbal agreement between the pair when the Frenchman worked for Blatter from 1998 to 2002 though not paid until nine years later. The explanation was rejected as "not convincing" by the ethics committee.
A statement from the ethics committee said: "Mr Blatter's actions did not show commitment to an ethical attitude, failing to respect all applicable laws and regulations as well as FIFA's regulatory framework to the extent applicable to him and demonstrating an abusive execution of his position as president of FIFA."
It added: "Mr Platini's actions did not show commitment to an ethical attitude, failing to respect all applicable laws and regulations as well as FIFA's regulatory framework to the extent applicable to him and demonstrating an abusive execution of his position as vice-president of FIFA and member of the FIFA executive committee."
Blatter's personal advisor Klaus Stoehlker confirmed to Press Association Sport that he will appeal against the ban and approach Lausanne's Court of Arbitration for Sport. Platini will also follow suit.
There is also the threat of action from the law authorities in USA and Switzerlandwho have initiated criminal proceedings against Blatter over financial irregularities.
A statement from UEFA said: "UEFA is extremely disappointed with this decision, which nevertheless is subject to appeal. Again, UEFA supports Platini's right to a due process and the opportunity to clear his name."
Platini said he too would appeal to CAS and take legal action for damages. "This decision does not surprise me. The ethics commission's procedure against me is a true mockery. It was orchestrated to tarnish my reputation. I'm convinced that my fate was decided before the December 18 hearing and that this decision is just a pathetic manoeuvre to hide a true will of taking me out of the football world," Platini said in a statement.