Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini Banned for 8 Years by FIFA Ethics Committee

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2015

SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JUNE 16:  UEFA President Michel Platini (L) and FIFA President Joseph Blatter look on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Germany and Portugal at Arena Fonte Nova on June 16, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Martin Rose/Getty Images

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have both been hit with eight-year bans from all football-related activities by FIFA after they were found guilty of ethics-code breaches on Monday.

World football's governing body confirmed news of the sanctions against the pair, per Agence France-Presse:

AFP news agency @AFP

#BREAKING Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini banned by FIFA for eight years: official

Here's the full statement from FIFA on the decision to ban Blatter, per BBC Sport's Dan Roan:

Dan Roan @danroan

FIFA statement on why Blatter has been banned for 8 years https://t.co/rYexxTcRMi

UEFA released their own statement in response to Platini's ban, per James Masters of the Times:

James Masters @Masters_JamesD

UEFA statement on Platini ban. https://t.co/8epL5N5pIY

Blatter, the FIFA president, and Platini, the UEFA president, were being investigated over a "disloyal payment" of £1.35 million made by the former to the latter in 2011.

German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert conducted hearings for the two men last week over charges of conflict of interest, false accounting and non-cooperation.

"Mr Blatter's actions did not show commitment to an ethical attitude, failing to respect all applicable laws and regulations," the FIFA judge said, per Rob Harris of the Associated Press. "Platini failed to act with complete credibility and integrity ... his actions did not show commitment to an ethical attitude." 

Harris confirmed Platini has also been fined 80,000 Swiss Francs.

Blatter staged a press conference in the wake of the verdict, during which he remained adamant of his innocence, per Harris:

Rob Harris @RobHarris

Blatter; "I am really sorry. I am sorry that I am still somewhere a punching ball. I'm sorry as president of FIFA I'm this punching ball"

Rob Harris @RobHarris

Blatter: "I'm sorry for me for, how I'm tainted in this world of humanitarian qualities." https://t.co/tvhGqtGOq6

Rob Harris @RobHarris

Sepp Blatter: "I will fight. I will fight for me and I will fight for FIFA. Suspended for eight years for what?"

A spokesperson for Blatter confirmed he will appeal the verdict to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), per Sky News' Paul Kelso. A media scrum greeted his arrival on Monday, per Roan:

Dan Roan @danroan

Downfall complete. Blatter met by media scrum as he arrives for press conference https://t.co/DGWvzJhGh1

Platini also revealed he will be appealing his eight-year ban to CAS, branding the verdict as "true mockery," per the AP (h/t USA Today).

The pair have both denied wrongdoing in respect of the payment, insisting it was made in line with work done between 1998 and 2002, when Platini was acting as a technical adviser to Blatter. They have each been serving 90-day suspensions in accordance with the investigation.

A verdict of corruption would have carried a lifetime ban for the duo. Nevertheless, the sanction effectively ends 79-year-old Blatter's involvement in world football's governing body, having held the presidential post since 1998.

Platini's hopes of becoming the organisation's president seem to have been dashed by this verdict, too. The former France international will not be permitted to run for the top job, which is to be vacated by Blatter prior to February's presidential election.