Football: Blatter to appeal Fifa ban, says he had been 'betrayed' by Fifa ethics court

Suspended Fifa president Sepp Blatter speaking during a press conference in Zurich, Switzerland, on Dec 21, 2015.
Suspended Fifa president Sepp Blatter speaking during a press conference in Zurich, Switzerland, on Dec 21, 2015.PHOTO: EPA

(AFP) - Sepp Blatter said he will appeal against a Monday ruling by Fifa's ethics court banning him from football for eight years, claiming he was "betrayed" by judges who ignored evidence.

Speaking in Zurich, symbolically at the site of Fifa's former headquarters, Blatter said he would first take his case to a Fifa appeals committee before challenging his suspension at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

Fifa judges banned the long-serving president Blatter and his one-time heir apparent Michel Platini over a 2 million Swiss franc (S$2.8 million) payment that Blatter authorised to Platini in 2011, reportedly for consulting work done a decade earlier.

Both men insisted the payment was legitimate as part of an oral contract.

Blatter said he was "astonished" that judges rejected evidence concerning the existence of an oral contract.

"You ask me if I feel betrayed... the answer is yes," said the Swiss national.

Speaking in English, he added that the ethics committee "deny an evidence and they try to build something up which is not true... Something that is not true cannot be proven".

He also said he "was sorry for Fifa", which has been engulfed in an unprecedented corruption scandal, including waves of criminal indictments targeting top officials by the United States justice department.

There is also an ongoing criminal investigation by the Swiss attorney-general, of which Blatter is the main target.

"As president of Fifa, I am this punching ball," added Blatter, who led world football's governing body for 17 years before his suspension.

Blatter voiced confidence in the appeals process and said he was still holding out hope that he could again be in charge in time for a Fifa congress set for February, when his replacement will be chosen.

Platini had been the favourite to win that vote before his suspension.