FIFA reject Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini appeals
By Allan Valente
Last Updated: 24/02/16 11:29pm
FIFA has dismissed appeals from Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini against their bans from all football activity.
However, the pair have had their bans reduced from eight years to six years by the FIFA appeal committee. The news comes after Platini and Blatter's hearings were held in Zurich earlier this month.
The two men were banned in December over a "disloyal payment" of £1.3m between them in 2011, made without a written FIFA contract, when both claimed they had a verbal agreement for FIFA to pay Platini an additional salary for his work as Blatter's presidential adviser from 1999-2002.
Blatter was "nervous and expecting bad news" ahead of the outcome of the FIFA hearings but, while their appeals were rejected, the committee decided that their work in football "should deserve appropriate recognition", and denied an attempt by FIFA ethics prosecutors to have the pair banned for life.
FIFA also fined Platini 80,000 Swiss Francs (£58,300) and Blatter 50,000 Swiss Francs (£36,400). Blatter intends to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and Platini is expected to follow suit.
The 79-year-old 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."
It means the pair are banned from "any football-related activity (administrative, sports or other) at national and international level for a period of six years" from October 8, 2015, which means Platini would be eligible to return in time for the Qatar 2022 World Cup he championed.
A statement from FIFA said: "The FIFA Appeal Committee, chaired by Larry Mussenden (Bermuda), has partially confirmed the decisions taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee on 17 and 18 December, 2015, regarding Joseph S Blatter and Michel Platini respectively, whose bans have been reduced from eight to six years.
"Mr Platini's and Mr Blatter's appeals are dismissed in respect of infringements of art. 13 (General rules of conduct), art. 15 (Loyalty), art. 19 (Conflict of interests) and art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) of the FIFA Code of Ethics, as established by the adjudicatory chamber.
"The Appeal Committee concurred with the findings of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee in the sense that the evidence available in the present case is not sufficient to establish a breach of article 21 of the FIFA Code of Ethics (Bribery and corruption).
"Consequently, the appeal lodged by the investigatory chamber for a life ban from all football-related activity was also dismissed.
"While agreeing with the principles and arguments presented by the adjudicatory chamber in its calculation of the sanction, the Appeal Committee determined that some strong mitigating factors for Mr Platini and Mr Blatter were not taken into account when establishing the sanction.
"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."