Blatter to appeal against eight-year ban

Paris, January 11

Fallen FIFA chief Sepp Blatter will appeal against his eight-year ban, his lawyer said on Sunday, joining fellow suspended official Michel Platini in a fight to clear his name.

“We will appeal it, of course,” Blatter’s US-based attorney Richard Cullen confirmed to AFP in an email. The confirmation came after FIFA’s ethics tribunal on Saturday revealed it had provided Blatter and UEFA president Platini with the reasons for imposing the ban, clearing the way for both men to appeal.

A lawyer for Platini, who has also been banned for eight years, had earlier confirmed an appeal would be launched. In December, FIFA’s ethics tribunal ruled both men had abused their positions over a 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million) payment made to Platini in 2011 for work carried out between 1999 and 2002.

Blatter, who has headed FIFA since 1998, was also fined 50,000 Swiss francs while Platini, was fined 80,000 Swiss francs. The court insisted there was “no legal basis” for the payment that Blatter authorised for Platini in 2011.

Platini’s lawyer Thibaud d’Ales said on Saturday that his 60-year-old client had indeed received the reasons behind the ban. “We’ll read them, analyse them and launch an appeal,” D’Ales said.

The tribunal did not provide further details of the reasoning behind its decision. Instead it stressed it had now “fulfilled its commitment to provide the grounds for the respective decisions to Mr Blatter and Mr Platini within the first half of January 2016.”

If that appeal is rejected, the two men can appeal further to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the highest tribunal in sports. At the time of the verdict, both men angrily vowed to fight the bans, which started immediately. The tribunal decision promises to end 79-year-old Blatter’s four decades with FIFA in disgrace.

It also dealt a devastating blow to Platini’s hopes of taking over as head of FIFA in an election on February 26. The UEFA president pulled out of the race earlier this week, saying the ban has made it impossible for him to put together a campaign to take on the sport’s most powerful job.