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Tougher sanctions? FIFA ethics panel wants longer bans for Blatter and Platini

Happier days: Blatter (right) is congratulated by Platini after being re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth term on May 29, 2015


Top football officials Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini could face longer bans after FIFA’s ethics investigatory chamber confirmed plans to lodge an appeal that could extend their eight-year suspensions. 

The bans against Platini and Blatter," investigatory panel spokesman Andreas Bantel told reporters in Zurich, where FIFA has its headquarters on Tuesday. 

The panel’s investigatory arm had initially demanded lifetime bans. It now argues that the eight-year bans are too lenient.

The former FIFA president and Platini, head of European football’s ruling body UEFA, were both banned from the game last month for ethics violations, which include accepting or receiving gifts and conflicts of interest.

Both have denied wrongdoing and have said they will appeal against the eight-year sanctions handed down by four ethics judges. In their ruling, the judges stopped short of acknowledging charges of bribery and corruption against Blatter and Platini.

The case centres on Blatter’s approval of $2 million (CHF1.98 million) of FIFA money that Platini received in 2011 as backdated salary. The ethics committee said the payment, made at a time when Blatter was seeking re-election, lacked transparency and presented conflicts of interest.

Blatter and Platini also deny wrongdoing related to the payments but acknowledge there was only a verbal agreement which they say is valid under Swiss law. However, FIFA was not required to pay Platini when more than five years elapsed since the work was completed.  

Platini had planned to run for the presidency of FIFA, but announced on January 7 that he had withdrawn his candidacy.

The FIFA presidential election will take place on February 26. A replacement will be chosen for Blatter, who stepped down weeks after being elected for a fifth term. 

Meanwhile on Wednesday FIFA announced that it had decided to dismiss Jérôme Valcke from the position of FIFA Secretary General with immediate effect.external link 

The duties of the Secretary General will continue to be assumed by the Acting Secretary General, Markus Kattner. with agencies

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