Embattled former FIFA president, Joseph Sepp Blatter and UEFA boss, Michel Platini, had the FIFA Appeal Committee to thank for not considering the life ban proposed by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee, instead their eight years bans were reduced to six.
The Appeal Committee chaired by Larry Mussenden (Bermuda), has partially confirmed the decisions taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee on 17 and 18 December 2015 regarding Blatter and Platini respectively, whose bans have been reduced from eight to six years.
According to fifa.com, following the hearings of Mr Platini and Mr Blatter held in Zurich on 15 and 16 February 2016 respectively, the Appeal Committee has decided as follows: that Mr Platini’s and Mr Blatter’s appeals are dismissed in respect of infringements of art. 13 (General rules of conduct), art. 15 (Loyalty), art. 19 (Conflict of interests) and art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) of the FIFA Code of Ethics, as established by the adjudicatory chamber.
The Appeal Committee concurred with the findings of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee in the sense that the evidence available in the present case is not sufficient to establish a breach of article 21 of the FIFA Code of Ethics (Bribery and corruption). Consequently, the appeal lodged by the investigatory chamber for a life ban from all football-related activity for the two administrators was also dismissed.
While agreeing with the principles and arguments presented by the adjudicatory chamber in its calculation of the sanction, the Appeal Committee determined that some strong mitigating factors for Mr Platini and Mr Blatter were not taken into account when establishing the sanction.
In this sense, amongst others, the Appeal Committee considered that Mr Platini’s and Mr Blatter’s activities and the services they had rendered to FIFA, UEFA and football in general over the years should deserve appropriate recognition as a mitigating factor. Thus, after carefully analysing and taking into consideration the exceptional mitigating circumstances of the cases, it was determined that a one-year reduction of the five-year ban for a breach of art. 20 of the FCE was proper, and similarly a one-year reduction of the three-year ban for the other breaches was also proper.
The ban took effect from 8 October, 2015, in accordance with art. 6 par. 1h) of the FIFA Code of Ethics in conjunction with art. 22 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code. Mr Platini shall pay a fine in the amount of CHF 80,000 within 30 days of notification of the present decision, while Blatter shall pay a fine in the amount of CHF 50,000 within 30 days of notification of the present decision.
Blatter intends to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Platini is expected to follow.
Blatter said in a statement through his spokesman, he said: “I am very disappointed by the appeal committee of FIFA and I will take it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.”
Blatter’s successor is being elected on Friday.
The appeal committee is headed by Larry Mussenden of Bermuda, who is currently seeking the CONCACAF presidency.
The six-year bans expire in October 2021. Blatter is aged 79 and the confirmation of the suspension ends his hopes of returning to football, unless CAS rules in his favour.
Platini would be eligible to return in time for the Qatar 2022 World Cup he championed.