(ATR) Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini will receive lengthy bans, if FIFA's judge supports the recommendations of investigators.
The investigatory of FIFA’s ethics committee on Saturday submitted its final reports "containing requests for sanctions" against the FIFA president and UEFA chief.
The pair are under investigation for the $2.1 million "disloyal payment" Platini received from FIFA in 2011, signed off by Blatter. Under an oral agreement, it was allegedly for work Platini carried out as an advisor to the FIFA chief between 1998 and 2002. The payment was made three months before the FIFA presidential election; Blatter was unopposed after his rival Mohamed Bin Hammam was suspended for corruption.
Hans-Joachim Eckert, head of the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA ethics committee, decided on Monday to launch proceedings against Blatter and Platini. Both men will request hearings before a final decision is made, expected before Christmas.
"The adjudicatory chamber has studied the reports carefully and decided to institute formal proceedings against the two officials. For reasons linked to privacy rights and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, the adjudicatory chamber will not publish details of the sanctions requested by the investigatory chamber in its final reports," FIFA said in a statement Monday.
Around the Ringsis told that a conflict of interest – Platini received the payment three months before he had an influential role in the 2011 FIFA presidential election – financial mismanagement and falsifying the accounts are among the charges being considered by Eckert.Blatter is also accused of being accused of signing a World Cup TV rights contract with disgraced former FIFA vice president Jack Warner that was "unfavourable to FIFA".
ATR understands that both men, whodeny wrongdoing,face bans of up to seven years over what Swiss authorities branded a "disloyal payment", if previous ethics sanctions for Harold Mayne-Nicholls and Chung Mong-joon are anything to go by.
The Chilean, who did a thorough job as head of the FIFA inspection committee for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups - including rating Qatar as "high risk" - was banned for seven years in July over a conflict of interest issue. He did nothing more than inquire about unpaid internships for his son and brother-in-law at Qatar's Aspire Academy during the bidding process. Nothing came of the requests.
Chung was hit with a six-year ban last month for breaches of theFIFA code of ethics, reportedly relating to "duty of disclosure" and "confidentiality". It was linked to South Korea's 2022 World Cup bidding campaign.
FIFA’s appeals committee rejected Blatter and Platini’s appeals to their 90-day provisional suspensions last week. They will take their cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Meanwhile, Blatter claims he was close to dying when he was hospitalized for a stress-related "emotional breakdown" earlier this month.
"I was very close [to death]. I was among the angels singing and the devil who was lighting the fire. But it was the angels who sang," he told Swiss TV channel RTS in an interview to screen later this week.
Blatter was released from a Swiss hospital nearly two weeks ago. He blamed the illness on the "pressure" of work. FIFA’s crisis reached new heights in May when seven officials were arrested on the eve of the FIFA Congress at which the 79-year-old was re-elected for a fifth term. But he stepped down four days later amid the corruption scandal enveloping FIFA.
Since then, Blatter, Platini and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke have been provisionally banned over corruption allegations.Five candidates are vying to replace Blatter at the Feb. 26 FIFA Congress.
Written byMark Bisson
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