FIFA’s top three suspended
FIFA today officially handed out provisional suspensions to its president Sepp Blatter, secretary general Jerome Valcke and vice-president Michel Platini for 90 days.
The punishments were meted out by the ethics committee of football’s world governing body, which is investigating the three over corruption allegations.
It also banned ex-Fifa vice-president Chung Mong-joon for six years.
Issa Hayatou, who heads Africa’s football confederation (Caf), will act as Fifa president during Blatter’s ban.
Spain’s Angel Maria Villar is expected to lead Uefa –– European football’s governing body –– while its current president Platini is suspended.
But Platini –– and Chung –– are still hoping to replace Blatter at the top of Fifa when he steps down as president in February.
Hayatou, meanwhile, has issued a statement saying he will only serve on an interim basis and will not be standing for election.
Blatter, Platini and Valcke are banned from any football activity in the interim. They deny any wrongdoing.
A statement issued by Blatter’s lawyers said the president was “disappointed” the ethics committee had not followed its own code in allowing him an opportunity to be heard, and claimed the suspension was based on “a misunderstanding of the actions of the attorney general in Switzerland”.
It added: “President Blatter looks forward to the opportunity to present evidence that will demonstrate that he did not engage in any misconduct, criminal or otherwise.”
Former France midfielder Platini described the developments as “farcical”, with the allegations against him “astonishingly vague” and “based on mere semblances”.
Platini said he was driven by “staunch defiance”, more than “a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge”, to defend himself.
He said: “I refuse to believe this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the Fifa presidency.”
His ban – which can be appealed against, or even extended – means he will not be able to attend the Euro 2016 draw in Paris on 12 December.
Uefa’s executive committee will hold an emergency meeting next Thursday and called for a “very rapid final decision” from Fifa, but said it had “full confidence” in Platini and “stands fully behind him”.
The Football Association, which last week reiterated its support for Platini’s presidency bid, said it would “await the results” of Fifa’s inquiry and the Swiss investigation, while chairman Greg Dyke said the organisation would withdraw its support if Platini is found to have “behaved dishonestly”.
Chung said he was not surprised by his ban, but described it “as a most blatant miscarriage of justice”, adding that Fifa was “in total meltdown” and the investigation against him was “politically motivated” against his presidential campaign.