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FIFA ethics court asks for Blatter, Platini sanctions

By AP - Nov 21,2015 - Last updated at Nov 21,2015

GENEVA — FIFA’s ethics committee has asked for sanctions against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini after finishing investigations into their alleged financial wrongdoing.

FIFA president Blatter and UEFA president Platini now face bans of several years at full hearings before FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert, likely in December.

The ethics court investigation chamber said Saturday it will not reveal what sanctions it requested due to “privacy rights and the presumption of innocence”.

“The adjudicatory chamber will study the reports carefully and decide in due course about whether to institute formal adjudicatory proceedings,” the separate judging chamber said in a statement.

The case centres on a $2 million payment of FIFA money Blatter approved for Platini in 2011 — three months before a FIFA presidential election — as backdated salary. Platini was employed by Blatter as a presidential adviser from 1998-2002.

Both men deny wrongdoing, though they acknowledge there was no written contract.

Blatter and Platini, whose campaign for the FIFA presidency is stalled by his legal troubles, were suspended by the ethics committee on October 8 pending the full verdicts.

Both are challenging their interim 90-day bans at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which is expected to fast-track their cases.

The full charges of unethical conduct against Blatter and Platini could include conflicts of interest.

Both were members of the FIFA executive committee in 2011 when the payment was arranged without their colleagues apparently knowing of the deal.

FIFA audit panel chairman Domenico Scala also suggested that accounts may have been falsified if the $2 million allegedly owed to Platini was not booked in the financial reports from 2002 to 2011.

Recently judged FIFA ethics cases suggest Blatter and Platini face bans of at least seven years.

Former FIFA vice president Chung Mong-joon of South Korea was banned for six years last month for a range of charges which did not include financial corruption. His misconduct cited by the ethics committee included failing to cooperate with investigators and breach of FIFA confidentiality rules.

Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the former Chile federation president, was banned for seven years in July in a case that focused on his work leading technical inspections of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidders.

Blatter and Platini can appeal any ethics committee sanctions to the FIFA appeals committee and CAS.

Both want their cases finally resolved ahead of the FIFA election on February 26.

Blatter has said he wants to leave FIFA with a dignified exit after 40 years by hosting the election congress in Zurich.

Platini’s eligibility as a candidate to succeed his former mentor Blatter is dependent on not being banned and passing an integrity check which is on hold during the ethics proceedings.

Switzerland’s attorney general has also opened criminal proceedings against Blatter for suspected criminal mismanagement of FIFA money, over Platini’s $2 million and the undervalued sale of Caribbean TV rights for the World Cup.

 

Swiss federal authorities are treating Platini  as “between a witness and an accused person”.

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