Sunday 25 September 2016

Business as usual for defiant Sepp Blatter despite reported impending suspension

Martyn Ziegler

Published 08/10/2015 | 07:26

Sepp Blatter is under pressure to step down immediately
Sepp Blatter is under pressure to step down immediately

Sepp Blatter will turn up for work at FIFA on Thursday despite facing a recommended 90-day provisional suspension by FIFA's ethics committee, according to his adviser.

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Klaus Stohlker, a friend and adviser to Blatter, said ethics investigators had recommended a 90-day suspension for the 79-year-old but that the head of the adjudicatory chamber, German judge Joachim Eckert, has yet to make a final decision.

Reports in German newspaper Die Welt said UEFA president Michel Platini was also facing a possible provisional suspension.

Stohlker told Press Association Sport: "I have spoken to Mr Blatter. He is still the president, he is going into his office in FIFA on Thursday. These are times of trouble for him of course but he is feeling strong and confident.

"There is no suspension active. President Blatter was told he could be suspended for 90 days.

"The first floor [investigatory chamber] has taken the decision today - they have taken the decision. That's why the second [adjudicatory chamber] needs to take the decision."

A statement from 79-year-old Blatter's lawyers said however: "President Blatter has not been notified of any action taken by the FIFA ethics committee. We would expect that the ethics committee would want to hear from the president and his counsel, and conduct a thorough review of the evidence, before making any recommendation to take disciplinary action."

Blatter and Platini are being investigated by Swiss prosecutors and the ethics committee over a 2million Swiss franc (£1.35million) payment signed off by FIFA president Blatter to UEFA president Platini.

Blatter has had criminal proceedings opened against him by the Swiss attorney general over the case and for allegedly selling World Cup TV rights to former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner for 20 times below their true value.

Platini's status was described by attorney general Michael Lauber as being between "a witness and an accused person".

A provisional suspension of Platini by the ethics committee would throw the contest to succeed Blatter as FIFA president into chaos as the Frenchman was the favourite.

The Platini payment being investigated was made in February 2011 for work he carried out as Blatter's technical advisor more than nine years previously between 1999 and 2002.

UEFA's head of communications Pedro Pinton said Platini does not feel the need to publicly justify the nine-year delay in receiving the money.

Platini has not publicly explained the reason for such a lengthy delay beyond that when he started his role as Blatter's advisor in 1999 he was told "that it was not initially possible to pay the totality of my salary because of FIFA's financial situation at that time".

Platini says he is still determined to run for the FIFA president and that he has provided all the necessary information to the investigating authorities.

Press Association

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