Monday 24 October 2016

Sepp Blatter returns to FIFA for suspension hearing

Published 16/02/2016 | 14:37

Suspended FIFA President Sepp Blatter
Suspended FIFA President Sepp Blatter

Banned FIFA president Sepp Blatter returned to the world governing body's headquarters in Zurich on Tuesday to appeal against his eight-year suspension from all football-related activity.

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It was reported Blatter arrived at 7.30am local time for the appeal hearing, evading journalists and photographers as he entered the premises.

The 79-year-old Swiss was handed the ban in December after he was found guilty of a £1.3m "disloyal payment" to UEFA president Michel Platini in 2011.

Frenchman Platini, who was also served with an eight-year ban for his role in the payment, made his case against his suspension at a FIFA appeal hearing on Monday.

The 60-year-old told reporters he had nothing to hide and was fighting not for his future but ''against injustice''.

The FIFA appeals committee, which is chaired by Larry Mussenden, the president of the Bermuda Football Association, has the power to reduce, increase or overturn the bans imposed in December.

If Blatter and Platini fail to have their sanctions overturned, it is likely they would take their fight to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

As well a being banned, Blatter was fined 50,000 Swiss francs (£33,700) and Platini 80,000 Swiss francs (£54,000) by the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's ethics committee after being found guilty of ethics code breaches.

The ethics committee's investigatory chamber has confirmed that it is appealing against the sanctions imposed on the pair on the grounds that they are too lenient.

The charges found proven included offering and accepting gifts, conflict of interest, and violating their fiduciary duty to FIFA.

Both Blatter and Platini said the payment was made following a verbal agreement between them when the latter worked for the former from 1998 to 2002, though it was not paid until nine years later.

That explanation was rejected as ''not convincing'' by the ethics committee, though it did add the evidence had not been sufficient to secure charges of corruption.

Press Association

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