Blatter Vows To Challenge FIFA Ban

Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter, the embattled FIFA president has vowed to contest his 8-year ban by the FIFA’s ethics committee. During a press conference held in Zurich on Monday, Blatter said he is being treated like a “punching ball” and maintained he was still the FIFA President and a man of principles. “I will always repeat that. I am a man of principles. These principles are never taking the money you have never earned and pay your debts.” Blatter also claimed FIFA’s ethics committee has no right to go against him and that he would appeal the ban. “We will go once again to the Appeal Committee,” he said. “I’m a Swiss citizen. In the Swiss law, you wouldn’t be suspended for eight years – you will have had to commit something very, very important. I am fighting not for me, but as the elected President of FIFA … and they have cut me off,” Blatter added. “We have to defend ourselves, I hope Platini feels the same.”

Football’s world governing body’s Ethics Committee had on Monday ruled that both Blatter and Michel Platini, his UEFA counterpart had broken FIFA Code of Ethics relating to conflicts of interest, breach of loyalty and gifts. The pair was suspended for eight years from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) on a national and international level. According to the FIFA statement, “The bans come into force immediately.”

Blatter and Platini who faced charges of corruption, conflict of interest and non-cooperation,  had disciplinary hearings before Hans-Joachim Eckert, FIFA ethics judge in Zurich last Thursday and Friday over a $2 million payment made to Platini in 2011 by world football’s governing body and signed off by Blatter.

The FIFA president denied any wrongdoing, claiming that the payment was honoring an agreement made for work carried out between 1999 and 2002 when Platini worked as a technical adviser for the FIFA president. But the Ethics Committee ruled that the payment to Mr Platini had no legal basis in the written agreement signed between both officials on 25 August 1999.  Platini’s assertion of an oral agreement was determined as not convincing and was rejected by the chamber,”, a FIFA statement said.

Although the pair was cleared of bribery and corruption allegations, the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee, in addition to the ban, fined Blatter 50,000 francs and Platini 80,000 francs, with a submission that neither Blatter nor Platini showed a “commitment to an ethical attitude, failing to respect all applicable laws and regulations. Both men demonstrated an “abusive execution” of their respective roles”.

With the ban, Platini’ s hope of replacing Blatter  as the head of FIFA at the February 26 election has been killed.

FIFA has been besieged by crisis ever since seven of its members were arrested and 14 senior executives charged in May shortly before Blatter won a fifth term in office. Extraditions and criminal charges followed as federal prosecutors in the United States continued its investigations while Swiss authorities quizzed Blatter on suspicion of “criminal mismanagement.”

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