Platini also appeals, Fifa calls Oct 20 exco crisis meeting

ZURICH • Uefa chief Michel Platini has appealed against a 90-day ban slapped on him over an ongoing corruption probe, as Fifa gears up for a crunch meeting over its raging sleaze crisis.

The news comes a day after the world governing body's president Sepp Blatter also launched an appeal against a similar 90-day ban from all football-related activities over a Swiss criminal inquiry.

The bans on Blatter and Platini - the two most powerful men in world football - were announced by Fifa on Thursday as its ethics watchdog geared up its investigation into fraud and corruption at the heart of the organisation.

Platini, 60, a front runner to succeed Blatter as Fifa president, denies any wrongdoing in taking a US$2 million (S$2.8 million) payment from Fifa in 2011.

The head of Europe's football governing body has slammed the ban as "farcical", insisting the payment was legitimate. Yesterday, a close associate of his said that an official appeal had been lodged at Fifa's Zurich headquarters.

Much now hangs on a crunch Oct 20 meeting of Fifa's ruling executive committee - announced late on Friday following pressure from influential regional and national federations. The fate of the election to replace Blatter - slated for Feb 26 - could depend on the summit, with some senior Fifa figures suggesting the committee could debate postponing the vote.

Interim Fifa president Issa Hayatou is rushing from his native Cameroon to take the reins at Fifa headquarters and is expected in Zurich on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, banned former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner blamed an American-led "witch hunt" for the crisis engulfing Fifa, while claiming that Blatter's woes were self-inflicted.

However, the 72-year-old believed that Fifa could survive the worst scandal in its history.

"I don't know why people cannot see this is an American witch hunt. I don't know why every time America sneeze everybody feel you have to catch a cold," Warner said. "The very same people who tried to dig a hole for me are now in a bigger hole themselves... they are victims of their own demise."

Warner is battling against extradition to the United States, where he is one of several football officials indicted on racketeering and bribery charges in connection with the US and Swiss investigation that rocked Fifa in May.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 11, 2015, with the headline 'Platini also appeals, Fifa calls Oct 20 exco crisis meeting'. Print Edition | Subscribe