Blatter, Platini Get Reduced Bans On Appeal
BEVERLY HILLS, February 24, (THEWILL) – FIFA appeals committee has reduced the bans meted on suspended President, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, head of the European football Association, UEFA.
Although the committee agreed with a previous ruling that both had committed ethics violations, it decided to reduce the ban from eight to six years.
“The FIFA Appeal Committee has partially confirmed the decisions taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee,” it said in a statement released by FIFA.
“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.”
It then announced a reduction of the bans from eight years to six years.
Blatter has vowed to 'fight' his suspension after he and Platini were both banned from soccer for eight years on Monday, December 21, 2015 by the ethics committee of the sport’s global governing body.
The pair, who were also fined, had been suspended for 90 days in October while an investigation was carried out into a 2 million Swiss franc ($2.02 million) payment by FIFA to Platini in 2011.
Both men claimed that the payment was made due to an oral agreement between them in 1998 when Platini worked as an adviser to Blatter up until 2002.
But the ethics committee said there was 'no legal basis' for the agreement.
“Neither in his written statement nor in his personal hearing was 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,” the committee had revealed in a statement after its decision.
Both men denied any wrongdoing and Blatter said he would use the legal system to appeal if necessary.
“I will fight. I will fight for me and I will fight for FIFA,” Blatter had declared after the decision adding that he would take his complaints to FIFA’s appeals body or use Swiss law if needed.
With the decision to uphold the ban, although reduced, Blatter’s 17 years at the helm of world soccer will end on a low, while Platini’s hopes of replacing the 79-year-old in the FIFA presidential election may be impossible.
Story by David Oputah