The two most powerful men in football have been provisionally suspended by FIFA’s ethics committee as the ever-growing allegations of corruption continue to cast a dark cloud over the World’s number one sport.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini have been handed initial 90 day bans alongside former FIFA secretary Jerome Valcke.
Blatter, 79, is already under investigation from the Swiss attorney general but has now been suspended by his own organisation over a £1.35 million payment to Platini -made nine years after the Frenchman carried out consultation work for football’s governing body.
Blatter’s former right-hand man, Valcke, has also received the same punishment, although he has already been relieved of his duties following newspaper allegations that he was involved in a scheme to sell World Cup tickets for above face value. This followed a published letter detailing a transfer of $10 million to CONCACAF officials, which was widely rumoured to be a bribe.
But there was also a punishment for the outspoken vice-president Chung Mong Joon, who has been handed a six-year ban from all footballing activities after an investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 & 2022 World Cups.
Ironically, before today’s bans, Platini and Mong Joon were the favourites to replace Blatter as the new FIFA President when he steps down on February 26th.
All four men can appeal the punishments although the Ethics Committee also reserve the right to extend the bans.
Issa Hayatou, the President of Africa’s governing body for 27 years, will now step in as FIFA’s temporary President until the conclusion of any appeal process or the subsequent duration of the bans is completed.
FIFA’s official statement:
Today, in accordance with FIFA’s Code of Ethics, Joseph S. Blatter was relieved of all his duties as FIFA President following the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Independent Ethics Committee to provisionally ban him from all football activities on a national and international level.
Joseph S. Blatter, for the duration of the 90-day ban, is not allowed to represent FIFA in any capacity, act on the organisation’s behalf, or communicate to media or other stakeholders as a FIFA representative.
As mandated by article 32 (6) of the FIFA Statutes, Issa Hayatou, as the longest-serving vice-president on FIFA’s Executive Committee, will serve as Acting President of FIFA.
It was also announced that the Independent Chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee issued a provisional 90-day ban for FIFA’s Secretary General, Jérôme Valcke.
This decision follows FIFA’s announcement on 17 September 2015, that the organization had put Jérôme Valcke on leave and released him from his duties effective immediately. On that date, FIFA requested a formal investigation by the Ethics Committee.
All operational business matters will continue to be overseen by Markus Kattner, Acting Secretary General.