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BLATTER, PLATINI BANNED FROM FOOTBALL FOR 8 YEARS

 

FIFA’s ethics committee banned Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini for eight years from all soccer-related activities in verdicts announced Monday.

Ethics judges ruled that Blatter broke FIFA Code of Ethics rules on conflicts of interest, breach of loyalty and offering gifts.

Platini broke rules on conflict of interest and loyalty.

Platini’s bid to succeed Blatter as FIFA president in a Feb. 26 election is now likely ended.

Both denied wrongdoing in 2011 when Platini took $2 million of FIFA money approved by Blatter as uncontracted salary for work as a presidential adviser from 1999-2002.

Blatter was fined 50,000 Swiss francs ($50,250) and Platini was fined 80,000 Swiss francs ($80,400).
Blatter insisted only the FIFA congress could remove him as president, not the ethics committee

“Neither in his written statement nor in his personal hearing was Mr. Blatter able to demonstrate another legal basis for this payment,” the judges said. “By failing to place FIFA’s interests first and abstain from doing anything which could be contrary to FIFA’s interests, Mr. Blatter violated his fiduciary duty to FIFA.

“Mr. Platini failed to act with complete credibility and integrity, showing unawareness of the importance of his duties and concomitant obligations and responsibilities,” the judges said.

Blatter and Platini previously said they would challenge any sanctions, at the FIFA appeals committee then the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

FIFA is reeling from the worst corruption scandal in its more than 100-year history, with 41 people including national soccer bosses as well as entities charged by U.S. prosecutors.

Blatter is also under criminal investigation in Switzerland.

Separately, a spokesman for the Swiss Justice Ministry said last week it had frozen millions of Swiss francs related to FIFA in response to a request from U.S. investigators.

Meanwhile five current and former members of FIFA’s ruling executive committee were among 16 additional men indicted on corruption charges last  Thursday as part of U.S. prosecutors’ widening investigation into soccer corruption.

The indictment takes down an entire generation of soccer leaders in South America, a bedrock of FIFA and World Cup history.

“The betrayal of trust set forth here is outrageous,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said. “The scale of corruption alleged herein is unconscionable.”

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