Blatter and Platini slapped with eight-year ban from football

Corruption scandal takes down football goliaths

Blatter and Platini

Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter

FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA boss Michel Platini have both been banned from football for eight years after the FIFA ethics committee found the pair guilty of ethics code breaches over a payment of $1.3m ($2m) made in 2011.

The scandal engulfed Blatter shortly after his fifth election as FIFA President, and will bring an ignominious end to his career.

Meanwhile, his heir apparent to the FIFA throne, Michel Platini, has also had his hopes of succeeding Blatter dashed to smithereens.

At a disciplinary hearing, chaired by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, the chairman of FIFA’s adjudicatory chamber, FIFA found that Blatter had made a “disloyal payment” to Platini in 2011.

Both of them claimed that it was a late payment for work Platini had done for Blatter between 1998 and 2002 when Platini was a technical advisor to Blatter.

But neither was able to provide a written contract for the payment, or explain why it was eventually paid nine years late.

At the time of the payment it was just weeks before a presidential election in which Blatter faced serious competition for the presidency from Qatari Mohamed bin Hammam, who himself was eventually banned for bribery.

Oral agreements for such payments are in fact legal under Swiss law, however the panel rejected Blatter and Platini’s version of events, saying it was “not convincing and was rejected by the chamber”.

Fines

In addition to receiving a ban, Blatter has been fined 50,000 Swiss Francs (£33,700), and Platini 80,000 Swiss Francs (£54,000).

The charges against the pair included conflict of interest, false accounting and failure to co-operate, and investigators submitted a file of more than 50 pages.

The row erupted in May when Swiss police raided the five star Baur au Lac Hotel in Zurich and arrested nine senior FIFA officials on US charges of money laundering and racketeering.

The move prompted Blatter to announce that he would step down as president.

Following the announcement Platini was hotly tipped to win the presidency.

Speaking ahead of the ruling, but during his suspension, Blatter lambasted the FIFA Ethics committee. He said: “This is not justice. I put these people into the office, where they are now in the ethics committee and they don’t even have the courage to listen to the secretary general, Platini or me.”

Following the ruling, Blatter said: “To say that it’s a good day for me or Fifa. This would be totally wrong.”

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