FIFA scandal: Blatter, Platini get 8yr bans, fines. “Will Fight”.

By Hugo Miller

(Bloomberg) — FIFA banned president Joseph “Sepp” Blatter and European soccer boss Michel Platini for eight years over an unauthorized 2 million-Swiss franc ($2 million) payment, ending Platini’s chances of taking over the sport’s governing body.

File picture of UEFA President Michel Platini (R) congratulating FIFA President Sepp Blatter after he was re-elected at the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, May 29, 2015. Suspended FIFA President Blatter and European soccer boss Platini were both banned for eight years December 21, 2015 by FIFA's Ethics Committee. The pair, who have also been 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 have denied any wrongdoing. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
File picture of UEFA President Michel Platini (R) congratulating FIFA President Sepp Blatter after he was re-elected at the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, May 29, 2015. Suspended FIFA President Blatter and European soccer boss Platini were both banned for eight years December 21, 2015 by FIFA’s Ethics Committee. The pair, who have also been 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 have denied any wrongdoing. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Blatter was unable to demonstrate any “legal basis” for the payment in 2011, while Platini’s assertion of an oral agreement was rejected, the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee said Monday in an e-mailed statement. Blatter was fined 50,000 francs and Platini 80,000 francs and the bans take effect immediately.

The actions of neither Blatter nor Platini showed a “commitment to an ethical attitude, failing to respect all applicable laws and regulations,” the chamber said in its ruling. Both men demonstrated an “abusive execution” of their respective roles, it said.

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Blatter, who oversaw FIFA for 17 years, and UEFA President Platini were suspended from all soccer activities Oct. 8 after Swiss prosecutors opened an investigation into the payment. The move essentially ended Blatter’s presidency and delivered a blow to Platini’s chances in Feb. 26 elections for FIFA president. Platini was handed another setback Dec. 11 when the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected the appeal of his 90-day suspension, saying it saw no need to overturn it.

Oral Contract

Blatter and Platini have denied any wrongdoing, saying Blatter was fulfilling an oral contract between the two for services the Frenchman provided to FIFA between 1998 and 2002. The final payment on the contract was made in 2011.

Blatter plans to appeal the decision to the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, his spokesman Klaus Stoehlker said on Monday in Zurich, before a press conference that the formerFIFA president has scheduled for 11 a.m.

FIFA's suspended president Sepp Blatter waves as he leaves with his daughter Corinne after a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland, December 21, 2015. Blatter will appeal against his eight-year ban by the world soccer body's ethics committee imposed on Monday, he told reporters. "I will fight for me and I will fight for FIFA," Blatter said, adding he would take his objections to FIFA's appeals body, go before the Lausanne-based sports arbitration panel, or take legal action under Swiss law if needed. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
FIFA’s suspended president Sepp Blatter waves as he leaves with his daughter Corinne after a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland, December 21, 2015. Blatter will appeal against his eight-year ban by the world soccer body’s ethics committee imposed on Monday, he told reporters. “I will fight for me and I will fight for FIFA,” Blatter said, adding he would take his objections to FIFA’s appeals body, go before the Lausanne-based sports arbitration panel, or take legal action under Swiss law if needed. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

A lawyer and spokesman for Platini did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The French weekly Journal Du Dimanche reported in a Dec. 6 issue that it had documents that showed FIFA and UEFA officials knew about the contract. Thibaud D’Ales, Platini’s lawyer, said that supported Platini’s contention that he had done nothing wrong or had been trying to hide the agreement. The newspaper report “is the written proof of the oral contract between Michel Platini andFIFA, as well as the amount and it also confirms that the contract was no secret because it was known about by executives at UEFA and FIFA,” D’Ales said at the time.

Zurich Arrests

FIFA’s problems began with the arrest of seven soccer officials in Zurich in May, part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s indictment of 14 people for bribery, racketeering and money laundering. Two FIFA vice presidents were arrested in Zurich on Dec. 3 as U.S. and Swiss prosecutors widened their investigations into corruption in the sport and more specifically, allegations of bribery in the selection of Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

FIFA will hold elections in Zurich on February 26 to choose its next president. Issa Hayatou, who became acting president of FIFA with Blatter’s suspension, said in a Dec. 18 open letter that the election is the chance “to start a new chapter” following a “crisis that has shaken football governance to its core.”

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