Fédération Internationale de Football Association’s (FIFA) Ethics Committee has recommended current President Sepp Blatter be suspended for 90 days, according to a long-term adviser of the Swiss Klaus Stöhlker.
Members of the Committee have been meeting in Zurich this week to discuss several allegations against Blatter, including that he made a a “disloyal” payment – meaning one allegedly not in the interests of football’s governing body – of CHF 2 million (£1.3 million/$2.1 million/€1.8 million) to UEFA President Michel Platini for consultancy work the Frenchman carried out between 1999 and 2002.
An investigation was launched into Blatter and Platini, with both insisting they had done nothing wrong.
It has been reported that no decision on the Frenchman has yet been made and the ruling against the 79-year-old Blatter still needs to be approved by the adjudicatory chamber of the Committee, led by FIFA’s judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, and a decision reportedly could come as early as tomorrow.
If it is upheld, Blatter would be suspended until early next year ahead of an Extraordinary Elective Congress, where his successor is due to be appointed, on February 26.
“What we know is that president Blatter was told he could be suspended for 90 days,” Stöhlker said.
“There is no guilt impugned.”
The Swiss’ lawyers have since claimed Blatter has “not been notified of any action taken by FIFA’s Ethics Committee.
“We would expect that the Ethics Committee would want to hear from the president and his counsel, and conduct a thorough review of the evidence, before making any recommendation to take disciplinary action,” a statement from from Swiss lawyer Lorenz Erni and US lawyer Richard Cullen said.
The astonishing news comes after the Swiss Attorney General announced they had opened “criminal proceedings” against Blatter on “suspicion of criminal mismanagement as well as – alternatively – on suspicion of misappropriation” on September 25.
Blatter, who was re-elected during FIFA’s Congress in Zurich in May before stepping down just five days later following the arrest of several officials, is alleged to have signed a contract with the Caribbean Football Union – headed at the time by another corruption tainted official in Trinidad and Tobago’s Jack Warner – and that this was “unfavourable” for FIFA.
The investigation in September marked the first time Blatter had been personally accused of involvement in a string of corruption scandals within world football’s governing body, which have plagued the sport for over two decades.
The development comes after Blatter earlier told German magazine Bunte that the investigation into his actions was “outrageous” and “not correct”.
“The situation is not pleasant,” he said.
“I am being condemned without there being any evidence for wrongdoing on my part.
“That is really outrageous.
“This is just an investigation, not an indictment.
“I will fight until February 26.
“For myself and for FIFA.
“I am convinced that evil will come to light and good will prevail.”
Blatter’s comments come after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) dropped the Swiss from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Foundation Board.
His 16-year term as an IOC member came to an end in August after he opted not to extend his mandate.
“The IOC is in the process of choosing a new member of the WADA Foundation Board,” an IOC statement said.
“Blatter is no longer an IOC member and will not represent the IOC during this time.”
Earlier today, FIFA Presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon announced his intention to sue Blatter for $100 million (£60 million/€89 million) for embezzlement and claimed FIFA’s Ethics Committee were impeding his bid for world football’s top job.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Inside the Games.