Zurich - FIFA's ethics watchdog on Thursday
suspended the two most powerful men in football, Sepp Blatter and Michel
Platini, for 90 days in a sensational new blow to the sport's scandal-tainted
While it said the bans were
"provisional", the action almost certainly signals the end of the
reign of FIFA president Blatter and deals a major blow to UEFA leader Platini's
hopes of taking over.
On another chaotic day for football, FIFA's
independent ethics committee also banned South Korean tycoon, Chung Mong-Joon,
also a candidate for the FIFA presidency, for six years.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke,
already ordered to leave the world body over a separate ticketing scandal, was
also suspended for 90 days.
The four football powerbrokers "are
banned from all football activities on a national and international level. The bans
come into force immediately," said a statement.
FIFA did not immediately say who would take
over running the multi-billion dollar organisation.
Blatter and French football legend Platini
have faced mounting pressure since Swiss prosecutors started an investigation
into the veteran FIFA president for criminal mismanagement.
Platini, who has run UEFA, has been named
in the investigation because of a two million dollar payment he received in
The Frenchman earlier demanded an inquiry
into the circumstances of the investigation against him.
The suspensions can be renewed for another
45 days when they run out in January, which would take the exclusion until just
before the FIFA election to be held on February 26.
That could rule out Platini, although it
would be up to FIFA's electoral committee to decide whether he can stand.
Chung, who was also fined 100 000 Swiss
francs, would be automatically ruled out of the presidential race.
The scion of the Hyundai family was found
to have contravened rules while lobbying for South Korea's bid for the 2022
World Cup which was awarded to Qatar in a controversial 2010 vote.
Chung has threatened to take legal action
over the ban.
FIFA's crisis has been mounting since May
when US authorities issued charges against 14 FIFA officials and sports
marketing executives over more than $150 million in bribes given for
broadcasting and marketing contracts.
Seven FIFA officials were detained at a
Zurich hotel two days before Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term on May 30.
As the storm grew, Blatter announced that
he would stand down, but only when the election is held. Rivals have accused
him since of seeking to cling to power.
Blatter said in an interview with a German
magazine this week that he was determined to stay until February 26. "I am
convinced that evil will come into the light and good will triumph," he
Platini and Chung have said they are
victims of a campaign, which they suspect comes from within FIFA, to derail
their bids to become FIFA president.
Media across Europe had predicted that the
90 days suspensions would be made. Platini called it an "insidious"
leak that appeared to come from an official FIFA source.
He said it "is essentially an attempt
to damage my reputation" and that FIFA has "flouted" its own
Platini said he had still registered his
official papers to be a candidate in the FIFA race on Thursday. The deadline
for candidates is October 26.
Chung said on Monday at a London sports
convention that he was the victim of a "smear" campaign by Blatter
who he described as "a hypocrite and a liar."
He threatened legal action against Blatter
for "embezzlement" by not declaring his salary and also in case he
was stopped from running in the election.
Prince Ali bin al Hussein, a former FIFA
vice president from Jordan, and Zico, a former Brazilian footballer and sports
minister, are also in the election.