Blatter, Platini vow to keep fighting

2015-12-22 10:19
Sepp Blatter (AFP)

Zurich - Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini vowed to keep fighting FIFA in courts after being suspended for eight years over ethics violations on Monday.

Blatter, FIFA's president since 1998, said he had been "betrayed" by the world body's ethics committee which he helped set up and accused judges of ignoring key evidence he believes should have cleared his name.

The 79-year-old Swiss national said he would "immediately" appeal to a FIFA committee against the ban, before taking his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne if need be.

Platini, head of European confederation UEFA and a FIFA vice president, had even harsher words for the ethics judges who threw him out of the game he had been poised to lead.

He said the FIFA decision was a "masquerade" intended to "sully" his name.

The FIFA court ruled that both men abused their positions over a 2 million Swiss franc ($2 million/1.8 euros) payment Blatter authorised to Platini in 2011. They said it was for work done a decade earlier.

Shortly after the verdict was announced, Blatter addressed the world media at the Sonnenberg conference centre in Zurich, which symbolically is the former site of FIFA's headquarters.

Unshaven and with a plaster bandage on his cheek, Blatter was flanked by his daughter Corinne, who has long been one of her father's most outspoken defenders.

"You ask me if I feel betrayed... the answer is yes," Blatter said in response to a question, adding that he was "astonished" judges had rejected evidence in his defence.

He said he had become a "punching ball" and that he was "sorry for FIFA", shaken by an unprecedented scandal which has seen 39 people indicted by the US justice department over corruption and bribery going back decades.

Days after the scandal kicked off in May, Blatter promised to stand down when his successor was chosen by FIFA's 209-member associations at a congress later set for February.

But his goal was to remain in office for that vote and to preside over a last major FIFA meeting before retirement.

"Let me work at this Congress. Let me do it," Blatter said in an interview with Sky News, restating his desire to leave FIFA on his own terms.

There has been speculation that Blatter authorised the payout to Platini in 2011 to secure the Frenchman's backing for his presidential re-election bid that year.

"It was not a bribe and there was no help from Europe in any election in 2011," Blatter told Sky. "Never in my life would I offer money to get something."

Platini's criticism of FIFA's ethics watchdog has escalated throughout the inquiry and his condemnation continued on Monday.

"I am convinced that my fate was sealed before the hearing of December 18 and that this verdict is just a pathetic coverup for a desire to eliminate me from the world of football," the ex-Juventus star said in a statement sent to AFP.

Unlike Blatter, he boycotted his hearing before judges in Zurich last week.

Aside from a CAS appeal, Platini said he was "determined to apply at the right time, to civil courts to obtain damages for all the prejudice I have suffered over very long weeks".

Platini had been the favourite to succeed Blatter as FIFA's president, but his campaign has been stalled by the ethics inquiry and his chances of winning have almost certainly been crushed, even if he overturns the ban on appeal.

The downfall of both men began in September, when Swiss prosecutors revealed a criminal investigation against Blatter, partly over the 2 million Swiss francs payment.

Platini has been questioned in the Swiss case as a person between a witness and an accused.

Read more on:    fifa  |  michel platini  |  sepp blatter  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2016/17 season?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.