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CAS rejects Blatter appeal, says ex-FIFA leader 'breached code of ethics'

The suspension stands.

Image: Adam Davy

DISGRACED FORMER FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s appeal against a six-year ban from all football activities has been dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini were suspended from all football-related activity by FIFA in December 2015 when the adjudicatory chamber of its Ethics Committee ruled a payment of two million Swiss francs, authorised by the Swiss to the former France captain, constituted multiple infringements of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

The FIFA Appeal Committee upheld the Ethics Committee’s findings, although it reduced the initial eight-year suspensions to six in light of “strong mitigating factors” – namely Blatter and Platini’s long history of service in football administration.

CAS heard Platini’s appeal in May, when the body further reduced the Frenchman’s ban to four years and changed his fine from CHF 80,000 to CHF 60,000, but maintained he was right to be punished, taking into account “the absence of any repentance” and the impact on FIFA’s reputation.

A CAS statement on Monday read: “The panel found that the written employment contract established between Mr Platini and FIFA in 1999 voided any oral agreement concluded between Mr Blatter and Mr Platini in 1998 that the latter would be paid CHF 1 million per year for his work at FIFA.

“Accordingly, by approving a payment of CHF 2 million to Mr Platini in 2011 for the balance of work carried out under the alleged oral agreement, Mr Blatter breached the FIFA Code of Ethics since the payment amounted to an undue gift as it had no contractual basis.

“The panel further found that Mr Blatter unlawfully awarded contributions to Mr Platini under the FIFA Executive Committee retirement scheme which also amounted to an undue gift.

“Turning to the sanction, the panel noted that Mr Blatter requested the annulment of the ban but did not request a reduced penalty. In any event, the panel determined that the sanction imposed was not disproportionate and therefore confirmed the appealed decision in full.”

Speaking in August Blatter vowed to accept CAS’ decision, whichever way it went: “I do hope it will be positive for me, but we are footballers. We learn to win but also we learn to lose.”

Blatter was succeeded by former UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino as FIFA president in February, following a tenure spanning more than 17 years.

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