The men in charge of FIFA and UEFA have both banned from all football-related activity for eight years following an investigation by the FIFA Ethics Committee. Both men have found guilty of breaches surrounding a payment of £1.3million to Platini in 2011.
As well as the bans both men have been fined for their actions. Blatter £33,700 and Platini £54,000. Both men continue to deny any wrongdoing and Blatter will appeal against the decision and is prepared to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
The FIFA Ethics Committee was chaired by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, has ruled that both men should be banned despite their protestations that they did nothing wrong regarding the payment that came nine years after both men claimed it was originally due.
The committee found: “Mr Blatter, in his position as president of FIFA , authorised the payment to Mr Platini which had no legal basis in the written agreement signed between both officials on 25 August 1999. Neither in his written statement nor in his personal hearing was Mr Blatter able to demonstrate another legal basis for this payment. His assertion of an oral agreement was determined as not convincing and was rejected by the chamber.”
Statement by independent Ethics Committee adjudicatory chamber on the bans on Joseph S. Blatter & Michel Platini: https://t.co/88KebkOuQM
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) December 21, 2015
Blatter appeared before the ethics committee on Thursday, protecting his innocence in a letter to all 209 FIFA members in which he likened the process to the Spanish inquisition.
While Platini refused to appear in person, with his lawyers conducting the nine-hour hearing in front of Eckert and the three other judges. Platini believes there are ulterior political motives to force him out of the race to succeed Blatter as FIFA President.
Neither men have been able to provide a written contract for the payment or explain why it was eventually paid nine years later in 2011. Both men say the payment related to a period between 1998 and 2002 when Platini acted as a special advisor to Blatter.
With Platini claiming that Blatter told him FIFA couldn’t afford to pay him at the time. In that four-year period FIFA made £78million but the claim the payment wasn’t made then because FIFA did not want to break its wage structure.
Both Blatter and Platini say they believe their verbal agreement was legal under Swiss law. Swiss law places a five-year limit on such payments. The fact that the payments did not feature in FIFA’s accounts was believed to form part of the case against both men.
The ethics committee found that: “The payment to Mr Platini had no legal basis in the written agreement signed between both officials on 25 August 1999. Mr Platini’s assertion of an oral agreement was determined as not convincing and was rejected by the chamber.”