Zurich - FIFA's ethics watchdog will on
Monday give a verdict against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini with both facing
lengthy bans over a suspect two million dollar payment.
The FIFA president, 79, and vice president,
60, were suspended after Swiss prosecutors started a criminal investigation
into the cash transfer that Blatter approved for Platini in 2011.
The FIFA judges' ruling is set to have
It could bring an inglorious end to
Blatter's 17 year reign over world football. A ban for Platini would deal a
fatal blow to the European football chief's hopes of taking over when an
election for a new president is held on February 26.
FIFA investigators have sought life bans
against Blatter and Platini and both men have signalled that appeals will be
Blatter told Swiss newspaper Blick on
Sunday that he was told corruption charges against him have been dropped but he
is still believed to face charges of mismanagement and conflict of interest.
Multiple scandals that have hit world
football have intensified the spotlight on the inquiry into a $2 million
payment that the FIFA leader authorised for Platini.
The money was for work that the French
football legend carried out as a consultant from 1998 to 2002.
There was no contract and details of the
sum owed only appeared in FIFA's accounts after it was paid in 2011.
Blatter was then seeking support for a
fourth term as FIFA leader and facing a challenge from Mohamed Bin Hammam of
Qatar. Platini endorsed Blatter for the presidency but he has insisted there
was no link between the payment and the election.
Both men deny corruption and say there was
an "oral contract" for the payment because Platini's whole salary for
his work could not be made at the time. No explanation has been given for the
Chief FIFA judge Hans-Joachim Eckert held
hearings for the two men last week.
Blatter gave a lengthy defence while
Platini boycotted the hearing and had his lawyer read out a statement saying:
"I am already judged, I am already condemned."
Blatter has already announced that he will
give a press conference at 12:00 on Monday in a Zurich restaurant, the
Sonnenberg, that used to be FIFA's headquarters.
The Swiss powerbroker has combatively
attacked the FIFA action against him saying that it was like "the
But he also faces a Swiss criminal inquiry
into the case. Prosecutors have called the cash transfer a "disloyal
payment" and accused him of criminal mismanagement.
The allocation of television broadcasting
deals is also being investigated.
Blatter and Platini can attack any ban at a
FIFA appeal tribunal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and even in a Swiss
Blatter would be fighting for his
reputation. For Platini, a ban would almost certainly rule him out of the FIFA
The deadline for candidates to be
registered and pass an integrity check is January 26.
With FIFA's reputation in tatters after the
arrest of several top officials, Blatter announced four days after winning re-election
to a fifth term in May that he would stand down and call a new election.
Seven FIFA officials were arrested in a
luxury Zurich hotel two days before the election congress.
Now US authorities have charged 39 football
officials and sports business executives over more than $200 million in bribes
for football television and marketing deals.
Swiss prosecutors are in parallel
investigating FIFA's management and the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups
to Russia and Qatar.
Facing pressure from governments and the
International Olympic Committee for major reforms, there are currently five
candidates to take over FIFA: Asian football head Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim
al-Khalifa of Bahrain, South African politician and tycoon Tokyo Sexwale,
former FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan, UEFA
general-secretary Gianni Infantino and Jerome Champagne, a former FIFA
assistant general secretary from France.