FIFA Bans Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini for 8 years over $2M in payments

FIFA President Sepp Blatter arrives in a car at the FIFA headquarters "Home of FIFA" in Zurich, Switzerland, Thursday morning, Dec. 17, 2015. While FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter will appear in person on Thursday before the panel of four judges of the FIFA ethics court, UEFA President Michel Platini plans to boycott his hearing on Friday 18 December. Blatter and Platini were banned for 90 days for all activities in football. (Walter Bieri/Keystone via AP)

ZURICH — FIFA’s ethics committee banned Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini for eight years from all soccer-related activities in verdicts announced Monday.

Platini’s bid to succeed Blatter as FIFA president in a Feb. 26 election is now likely ended.

Ethics judges ruled that Blatter broke FIFA Code of Ethics rules on conflicts of interest, breach of loyalty and offering gifts.

Platini broke rules on conflict of interest and loyalty.

Both denied wrongdoing in 2011 when Platini took $2 million of FIFA money approved by Blatter as uncontracted salary for work as a presidential adviser from 1999-2002.

Blatter was fined 50,000 Swiss francs ($50,250) and Platini was fined 80,000 Swiss francs ($80,400).

“Neither in his written statement nor in his personal hearing was Mr. Blatter able to demonstrate another legal basis for this payment,” the judges said. “By failing to place FIFA’s interests first and abstain from doing anything which could be contrary to FIFA’s interests, Mr. Blatter violated his fiduciary duty to FIFA.

“Mr. Platini failed to act with complete credibility and integrity, showing unawareness of the importance of his duties and concomitant obligations and responsibilities,” the judges said.

Blatter and Platini previously said they would challenge any sanctions, at the FIFA appeals committee then the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

FIFA is reeling from the worst corruption scandal in its more than 100-year history, with 41 people including national soccer bosses as well as entities charged by U.S. prosecutors.

Blatter is also under criminal investigation in Switzerland.

Separately, a spokesman for the Swiss Justice Ministry said last week it had frozen millions of Swiss francs related to FIFA in response to a request from U.S. investigators.

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