Fifa's ethics body recommends bans for Blatter, Platini

GENEVA • The Fifa ethics committee probing allegations of corruption against suspended president Sepp Blatter and his would-be successor Michel Platini requested yesterday that sanctions be levelled against both men.

Citing privacy and presumption of innocence, the committee said it would not disclose the nature of the punishments requested.

The duo were for years the most powerful figures in world football.

The committee, known as the investigatory chamber of Fifa's independent ethics watchdog, has submitted its final report to the governing body's judgment arm, which will weigh the recommendations.

It is understood this request is for bans of several years based on four potential ethics code breaches.

They are mismanagement, conflict of interest, false accounting and non-cooperation with or criticising the ethics committee.

The fallout from the report could prove massive for the future of world football's governing body, including the possibility of permanently derailing Platini's candidacy to lead Fifa.

The adjudicatory body has in the past recommended suspensions of several years, or even life.

Both men were provisionally suspended by the ethics committee in October for 90 days.

The moves came after Swiss prosecutors opened an investigation into possible criminal mismanagement at Fifa during Blatter's tenure.

It included evidence of a murky two million Swiss franc (S$2.8 million) payment made to Platini in 2011, reportedly for work he did a decade earlier.

There was no written agreement for the payment. Blatter and Platini said it was an oral agreement made between them 13 years previously.

It is also being investigated by Swiss legal authorities as a "disloyal payment", and the fact they did not report the outstanding debt to Fifa's financial department in the intervening years could be a case of false accounting.

Appeals by both Blatter and Platini against their 90-day suspensions were rejected last week.

Platini has taken his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with a decision expected by the end of the month.

Reversing the suspension, which lasts until Jan 5, is crucial to the French football legend.

The provisional ban has thrown the brakes on his campaign to replace Blatter.

Platini, the head of European football until his suspension, had been the favourite to win Fifa's presidential vote scheduled for Feb 26, until he became engulfed in the raging Fifa scandal.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 22, 2015, with the headline 'Fifa's ethics body recommends bans for Blatter, Platini'. Print Edition | Subscribe