Switzerland: FIFA rejects Blatter, Platini appeals; reduces bans to six years

Zurich, Switzerland (PANA) - Football's governing body, FIFA, has rejected appeals by former president Joseph Sepp Blatter and head of European Football Association Michel Platini against banning them from all football-related activities.

The FIFA Appeal Committee, chaired by Larry Mussenden (Bermuda), has, however, reduced their bans from eight years to six years.

A statement issued by FIFA on its website on Wednesday said its Appeal Committee partially confirmed the decisions taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee on 17 and 18 December 2015 regarding Blatter and Platini respectively.

The statement said following the hearings of Mr Platini and Mr Blatter held in Zurich on 15 and 16 February 2016 respectively, the Appeal Committee has decided as follows:

"Mr Platini’s and Mr Blatter’s appeals are dismissed in respect of infringements of art. 13 (General rules of conduct), art. 15 (Loyalty), art. 19 (Conflict of interests) and art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) of the FIFA Code of Ethics, as established by the adjudicatory chamber.

"The Appeal Committee concurred with the findings of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee in the sense that the evidence available in the present case is not sufficient to establish a breach of article 21 of the FIFA Code of Ethics (Bribery and corruption). Consequently, the appeal lodged by the investigatory chamber for a life ban from all football-related activity was also dismissed."

The Appeal Committee said while agreeing with the principles and arguments presented by the adjudicatory chamber in its calculation of the sanction, it determined that some strong mitigating factors for Mr Platini and Mr Blatter were not taken into account when establishing the sanction.

"In this sense, amongst others, the Appeal Committee considered that Mr Platini’s and Mr Blatter’s activities and the services they had rendered to FIFA, UEFA and football in general over the years should deserve appropriate recognition as a mitigating factor.

"Thus, after carefully analysing and taking into consideration the exceptional mitigating circumstances of the cases, it was determined that a one-year reduction of the five-year ban for a breach of art. 20 of the FCE was proper, and similarly a one-year reduction of the three-year ban for the other breaches was also proper."

The statement said. "Michel Platini is banned from taking part in any football-related activity (administrative, sports or other) at national and international level for a period of six (6) years as from 8 October 2015, in accordance with art. 6 par. 1h) of the FIFA Code of Ethics in conjunction with art. 22 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code. Furthermore, Mr Platini shall pay a fine in the amount of 80,000 Swiss francs within 30 days of notification of the present decision.

"Joseph S. Blatter is banned from taking part in any football-related activity (administrative, sports or other) at national and international level for a period of six (6) years as from 8 October 2015, in accordance with art. 6 par. 1h) of the FIFA Code of Ethics in conjunction with art. 22 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code. Mr Blatter shall pay a fine in the amount of 50,000 Swiss francs within 30 days of notification of the present decision."

The proceedings against Mr Blatter, 79, primarily related to a payment of 2 million Swiss francs transferred in February 2011 from FIFA to Mr Platini, 60.

Both have denied any wrongdoing and have the option to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
-0- PANA MA/AR 24Feb2016

24 february 2016 18:12:29




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