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FRANCE - switzerland

Blatter, Platini banned for eight years over murky multi-million euro payment

Suspended FIFA President Blatter and European soccer boss Platini have been banned for eight years.
Suspended FIFA President Blatter and European soccer boss Platini have been banned for eight years. Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

A FIFA court in Zurich on Monday banned the two most powerful men in football. Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini were banned for eight years from all football activity as FIFA found them guilty of abusing their positions over a 1.8 million euro payment to the head of European football.

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Both were "immediatly banned from all football activity," a statement by the FIFA court said. "Both showed abusive execution of their powers," it said. 

Blatter had transferred 1.8 million euros in cash to Platini in 2011 for work the French football legend carried out as a consultant between 1998 to 2002.

Both men have denied corruption although there was no contract over the sum transferred which appeared in FIFA's accounts in 2011.

At the time, there was a fierce battle between potential candidates to FIFA elections for the new president.

Blatter was seeking support for a fourth term as a FIFA leader but Platini always denied any link between the payment and the election.

Beyond the ban, Blatter, 79, FIFA's president since 1998 was fined 46,300 euros and vice president Platini received a fine of 74,000 euros.

In the case of Platini, the court said he "failed to act with complete credibility and integrity, showing unawareness of the importance of his duties."

The ban for Platini is a fatal blow to the European football chief's hopes to take over the head of FIFA as elections for a new president are scheduled on 26 February 2016.

There are currently five candidates to take over FIFA: Asian football head Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa of Bahrain, South African politician and tycoon Tokyo Sexwale, former FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan, UEFA general-secretary Gianni Infantino and Jerome Champagne, a former FIFA assistant general secretary from France.

The world football body has been rocked by many scandals recently. Seven top FIFA officials were arrested last May in Zurich while the US authorities have now charged 39 football officials and sports businesses executives.

Swiss prosecutors are aslo currently investigating FIFA's management and the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

 

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