Zurich - Leading figures in football hit
out at the disgraced Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini after they were handed
eight-year bans from the sport on Monday.
FIFA president Blatter and UEFA president
Platini have been banned from all footballing activities for eight years after
FIFA's ethics tribunal said they had abused their positions over a suspect
Dutch FA (KNVB) chief Michael van Praag, a
UEFA vice-president, admitted the verdict on Platini was extremely damaging for
the governing body of the European game.
"It is extremely scandalous for
football as a whole and for its administrators in particular," Van Praag
said in a statement published on the KNVB website.
"It is a new low point in the
activities and the perception of FIFA in particular, but also UEFA, because of
Platini's personal involvement," he said.
Van Praag, who had been a candidate to
stand against Blatter in the FIFA presidential elections back in May before
withdrawing, added that the ruling was nevertheless proof of the "growing
capacity" of FIFA to clean itself up.
Both Blatter and Platini have said they
will appeal, but English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke described
Blatter's reaction to his ban as "rather sad".
"He just doesn't separate himself from
FIFA. He thinks he is the same thing, and that's rather sad. I don't think he
will recover from this," said Dyke.
Dyke had initially backed Platini to
replace Blatter at the head of football's world governing body in February's
elections and admitted his "disappointment" at subsequent
"We took an early decision to support
Mr Platini. We thought he had done a very good job with UEFA and we were
clearly all very disappointed when all this came out. We didn't know.
"I presume that he will now... appeal
as well, but I would think it is the end for both him and Blatter."
Former UEFA president Lennart Johansson described
the ruling as "punishment enough" and said the eight-year suspensions
could effectively be seen as life bans.
"I think this is punishment enough,
because it means they can never come back," Johansson, who was in charge
of UEFA for 17 years before Platini took over in 2007, told the Swedish daily
Johansson had previously stood as a
candidate and lost against both Blatter and Platini in elections, and he said
he felt he had finally been proven right.
"I feel no sense of victory, but I think
I have been proven right in hindsight. All I remarked on, all I fought for, I
have not done in vain. The truth will always come out eventually - and it has
done so now. Otherwise, I feel no satisfaction," Johansson told the
Former Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
general secretary Peter Velappan, who occupied that position when Asia hosted
its first ever World Cup in South Korea and Japan in 2002, said the length of
the bans was like a "death sentence".
"This is very harsh, especially for
Blatter because he dedicated his life to football and FIFA," said
"It's unfortunate that the bribery
scandal happened and you can't take away the blame from him either but still,
eight years is too harsh. Eight years is like a death sentence."
Velappan backed the pair's record in
boosting football in Asia and said that should have been taken into
"Blatter and Platini are football
personalities and you have to look at the contributions they have made to the
game," he added.
"A one or two-year ban would have been
understandable. This is very unkind."
For English football icon David Beckham,
however, the episode should be used as an opportunity to implement vital
reforms in the game.
But the former Manchester United and Real
Madrid star remains upbeat about the future.
"I'm sure at some point there will be
a huge amount of change at FIFA," he said.
"No matter what corruption is going on
at the highest level, it will never be as big as the game itself."