Former FIFA chief Sepp Blatter and suspended UEFA boss Michel Platini have had their bans from football reduced from eight to six years by the FIFA Appeal Committee, on Wednesday because of their “services to football.”
Blatter and suspended UEFA boss Platini were banned from all football activity after being found guilty of a series of breaches, namely ‘dereliction of duty’ with regards to a ‘disloyal payment’ worth 2 million Swiss franc (£1.35m) from Blatter to Platini in 2011, which is also the subject of a criminal investigation in Switzerland.
The Appeal Committee headed by Larry Mussenden of Bermuda, who is seeking the CONCACAF presidency in May stated;
In this sense, amongst others, the Appeal Committee considered that Mr Platini’s and Mr Blatter’s activities and the services they had rendered to FIFA, UEFA and football in general over the years should deserve appropriate recognition as a mitigating factor.
Thus, after carefully analysing and taking into consideration the exceptional mitigating circumstances of the cases, it was determined that a one-year reduction of the five-year ban for a breach of art. 20 of the FCE was proper, and similarly a one-year reduction of the three-year ban for the other breaches was also proper.”
In summary: Michel Platini is banned from taking part in any football-related activity (administrative, sports or other) at national and international level for a period of six years as from 8 October 2015. Joseph S. Blatter is banned from taking part in any football-related activity (administrative, sports or other) at national and international level for a period of six years as from 8 October 2015.
79-Year-old Blatter must also pay a fine of £36,000, while Platini has been ordered to pay £58,000. Both sums are due within 30 days.
The six-year bans began on Oct. 8, 2015, and are supposed to expire in October 2021. The confirmation of Blatter’s suspension likely ends his hopes of returning to football unless CAS rules in his favour.
But Blatter is not satisfied and intends to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and Platini is expected to follow.
Blatter said in a statement through his spokesman:
I am very disappointed by the appeal committee of FIFA and I will take it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
Platini, 60, also released a statement through his legal team.
The reasons given against me are baseless, trumped up and surreal, given the facts and explanations that I gave during the hearing of the appeals board. This decision is in reality a political decision taken by the FIFA administration.
I am the victim of a system that had only one goal: To prevent me from becoming FIFA president in order to protect certain interests that I was about to bring into question.
Platini said he would pursue all possible means to appeal, starting with CAS, and that he has asked his legal team to launch an appeal to the Lausanne-based court “without waiting.”
Five candidates are running in the election to succeed Blatter as FIFA president. The election takes place in Zurich on Friday.
Sepp Blatter has been FIFA boss since 1998, Platini on the other hand has been in charge of UEFA – European football’s governing body since 2007.
Platini had been tipped as a future leader of football’s world governing body and is a three-time European Footballer of the Year. He is also a former captain of France.