Three weeks after being banned from football for eight years, football functionaries Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have received the reasons for their bans from the FIFA ethics panel. The former FIFA President and current UEFA President are now free to appeal.
The ethics panel of world football’s governing body, FIFA, did not make the reasons for the bans public, but said in a statementexternal link on Saturday: “After receiving the grounds for the decisions, both officials may lodge an appeal with the FIFA Appeal Committee.”
Platini lawyer Thibaud d'Ales told the Reuters news agency: "We will immediately lodge an appeal with the FIFA appeal committee, before going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport as soon as possible." He added that "the FIFA appeal committee being a FIFA body, we do not have high hopes that making an appeal there will change things".
FIFA has been embroiled in a corruption scandal since May 2015. Criminal investigations are under way in Switzerland and the United States, with 41 football officials and sports entities so far indicted on corruption charges.
Blatter and Platini were both banned over a payment of CHF2 million ($2 million) made to Platini by FIFA with Blatter's approval in 2011 for work done a decade earlier.
The ethics committee said the payment, made at a time when Blatter was seeking re-election, lacked transparency and presented conflicts of interest. Both men denied wrongdoing.
In response to mounting pressure, Blatter stepped down as President on June 2, 2015.
Platini, the head of European soccer body UEFA, had planned to run for the presidency of FIFA, but announced on January 7 that he had withdrawn his candidacy.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.
swissinfo.ch and agencies