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FIFA


Blatter back in Swiss court


Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter appeared before the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) in Lausanne on Thursday to appeal against his six-year ban from football.

"My name wouldn't be Sepp Blatter if I didn't have faith, if I wasn't optimistic," the 80-year-old told reporters as he arrived for the hearing. "I will accept the verdict because, in football, we learn to win, this is easy, but we also learn to lose, but this is not good, I wouldn't want to lose."

Blatter was head of football’s governing body for 17 years until he resigned in June last year. He was banned from all football-related activity last December along with the then UEFA boss, Michel Platini.

Blatter denies wrongdoing in authorising a $2 million (CHF1.9 million) payment to former FIFA vice president Platini in 2011. They claimed it was for backdated and uncontracted work Platini did in advising Blatter from 1999 to 2002.

Platini's appeal to CAS was judged in May, when Blatter appeared as a witness. Platini promised to appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal after his ban was only cut from six to four years.

"I'm sure at the end...that the panel will understand that the payment made to Platini was really a debt that we (owed) him and this is a principle, if you have debts, you pay them," Blatter said.

CAS have not said when its final decision on Blatter’s appeal will be announced. The hearing at CAS is expected to last just one day, although a decision could take several weeks.

Blatter resigned as FIFA president in June 2015 following large-scale arrests of FIFA executives by US and Swiss justice authorities. However, he remained in the wings of the organisation until bans were issued in October and December 2015.

Several dozen football officials, including former FIFA executive committee members, and entities were indicted in the US on corruption-related charges last year.

On September 14, UEFA members will elect a successor to replace Platini who had a mandate up until March 2019. By imposing a four-year ban, the CAS panel ensured UEFA had to replace Platini, rather than wait for him to return.

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