In a statement issued by FIFA, the World Football governing body has banned its President Sepp Blatter and Vice President Michel Platini for eight years from all football related activities on a national and international level.
The move comes over after a $2 million payment was made by FIFA President Blatter to Platini, the president of European soccer’s ruling body UEFA. The payment is also the subject of a criminal investigation in Switzerland.
They are also charged with offering and accepting gifts, conflict of interest, and violating their fiduciary duty to FIFA. Blatter has been fined £33,700 (50,000 Swiss francs), with UEFA president Platini fined £53,940 (80,000 Swiss francs).
The FIFA official statement reads: “The adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee chaired by Mr Hans-Joachim Eckert has banned Mr Joseph S. Blatter, President of FIFA, for eight years and Mr Michel Platini, Vice-President and member of the Executive Committee of FIFA and President of UEFA, for eight years from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) on a national and international level. The bans come into force immediately.”
“The proceedings against Mr Blatter primarily related to a payment of CHF 2,000,000 transferred in February 2011 from FIFA to Mr Platini. Mr Blatter, in his position as President of FIFA, authorised the payment to Mr Platini which had no legal basis in the written agreement signed between both officials on 25 August 1999. Neither in his written statement nor in his personal hearing was Mr Blatter able to demonstrate another legal basis for this payment. His assertion of an oral agreement was determined as not convincing and was rejected by the chamber.”
The statement further reads: “Mr Platini has been banned for eight years from all football related activities and fined CHF 80,000.”
However, Blatter is not going down without a fight as he made a bold statement at a news conference on Monday. “Fight. I will fight until the end,” said Blatter as reported by Fox Sports.
“I’m sad. It can’t go on this way. It’s not possible. After 40 years, it can’t happen this way. I’m fighting to restore my rights,” said the 79-year-old Blatter.
Platini said that he will file a lawsuit in a civil court to seek damages for what he has endured during the ethics commission’s proceedings.
Fox Sports reports Platini saying: “I’m convinced that my fate was sealed before the Dec. 18 hearing and that this decision is just a pathetic manoeuvre to hide a true will of taking me out of the football world.”
“My behaviour has always been faultless and I’m at peace with my own conscience.”