FIFA chief Blatter and Platini given provisional bans

Jerome Valcke is third FIFA official to be handed out 90-day suspension;

Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, and his possible successor, UEFA chief Michel Platini, have been provisionally suspended for 90 days by the global football body’s ethics committee.

The committee also handed out a 90-day suspension to Jerome Valcke, FIFA secretary general, who had already been put on leave by the football body.

Chung Mong-joon, former FIFA vice president, got a ban for six years and a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs ($103,000).

“The grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out by the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee,” FIFA’s ethics committee said in a statement on Thursday.

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Issa Hayatou of Cameroon will take over as acting president.

Hayatou, the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), would take over, in accordance with FIFA statutes, as the longest-serving vice-president on FIFA’s executive committee.

Swiss prosecutors last month opened a criminal investigation into Blatter over a Caribbean World Cup TV rights contract he signed, and a 2011 payment of two million francs to Platini.

Platini’s status has been described by the Swiss attorney general as being between a witness and an accused person.

“The duration of the bans may be extended for an additional period not exceeding 45 days,” the statement added.

“During this time, the above individuals are banned from all football activities on a national and international level. The bans come into force immediately.”

Blatter’s lawyer, however, says the FIFA ethics committee failed to follow the proper procedure when it decided to suspend him.

Richard Cullen says Blatter was “disappointed that the ethics committee did not follow the code of ethics and disciplinary code, both of which provide for an opportunity to be heard”.

Cullen also says the ethics committee based its decision on a “misunderstanding”, adding that the Swiss attorney general has not charged Blatter with a crime.

This provisional ban effectively ends Blatter’s presidency. He had already resigned earlier this year and the ban takes it up to January. It could also be extended by up to 45 days, taking it very close to the Febaruary 26 elections.
It’s conceiveable he could get back to his job for a few days and hand over power on his own terms but it’s increasingly unlikely that will happen.
It doesn’t look good for Platini either. He was favourite to take over from Blatter up until 10 days ago.
Andrew Richardson – Al Jazeera sports correspondent

The Swiss attorney general has described the position of Platini, a former French midfield star, as being between that of a witness and an accused person.

Blatter has been president of FIFA since 1998 and has worked for the organisation for 40 years, starting as a technical director before becoming secretary general under former president Joao Havelange in 1981.

The 79-year-old Swiss told a German magazine this week that the Swiss criminal investigation against him was “not correct”.

Earlier on Thursday, Platini said he would fight any decision against him.

Meanwhile, Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou and Spain’s Angel Maria Villar are in line to take over as interim heads at FIFA.

FIFA’s statutes say that the most senior vice-president will stand-in for the president of the organisation.

That position is currently held by Hayatou, president of Africa’s football confederation (CAF).

Spanish Football Federation president Villar is positioned to take over from Platini as he is the European governing body’s highest-ranking vice-president.

Villar has been widely reported to be facing a FIFA ethics investigation himself related to Spain’s joint bid with Portugal for the 2018 World Cup.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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