Blatter to attend appeal hearing on Feb 16

ZURICH: Disgraced FIFA president Sepp Blatter will return to the headquarters of football's governing body on February 16 when his appeal against his ban from the sport will be heard, according to his advisor.

Blatter, head of football's scandal-plagued governing body since 1998, was banned in December from all football-related activity for eight years by the ethics committee of FIFA, mired in the worst graft scandal its 111-year history.

"Mr Blatter will attend an appeal hearing at on February 16, at the home of FIFA, and we expect the decision as soon as possible," his advisor Thomas Renggli told Reuters.

Blatter's case will initially be dealt with by FIFA's own Appeal Committee. Renggli said that, if he is unsuccessful, he will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.

Blatter, 79, who has denied wrongdoing, was banned for ethics violations over a 2 million Swiss francs ($1.96 million) payment FIFA made to European football boss Michel Platini with Blatter's approval in 2011.

Platini, who had been the favourite to succeed Blatter, was also banned for eight years. The election for the new FIFA president will take place in Zurich on February 26.

A total of 41 individuals and entities, including many former FIFA officials, have been charged with corruption-related offences in the United States as part of the wider scandal.

The US investigation is far from over and FIFA also faces a parallel Swiss investigation.