Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have each been handed eight year bans by the FIFA ethics committee following an investigation into a “disloyal payment” of $2 million from Blatter to Platini.
The ethics committee ruled the payment was a conflict of interest and a breach of loyalty. Blatter was also fined $40,000, while Platini was fined $80,000.
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Both men have announced that they will appeal the ruling.
The following is a FIFA statement, which has banned two of the sport’s most powerful figures.
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.”
Mr Platini failed to act with complete credibility and integrity, showing unawareness of the importance of his duties and concomitant obligations and responsibilities.
His 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 has served as president of FIFA since 1998, and had already announced his plans to step down in February as allegations of corruption and bribery continue to hit the organization. Platini, who has served as the president of UEFA since 2007, was expected to be a front-runner to take over.
When asked about the suspension, Blatter said that he will “fight until the end.” He claims he is being used as a “punching ball” for the sport, and continues to deny any wrongdoing.