Blatter appears before FIFA’s appeals committee

Blatter
Blatter

Disgraced FIFA president Sepp Blatter appeared before a FIFA’s appeals committee on Tuesday to fight an eight-year ban from the sport for ethics violations.

Blatter arrived at FIFA headquarters in Zurich 90 minutes before the start of the hearing at 0800 GMT.

His hearing follows a similar appeal by the fallen head of European football, Michel Platini, on Monday.

Blatter and Platini were banned by FIFA’s ethics committee in December after being found guilty of breaches surrounding a mysterious 2 million Swiss franc ($2 million, 1.8 million euros) payment Platini received from Blatter in 2011.

Both men, once the most powerful figures in world football, have insisted that the payment was part of a legitimate oral contract reportedly for consulting work performed by Platini a decade earlier.

The notorious 2011 payment is also part of a criminal probe by Swiss prosecutors targeting Blatter, in which Platini has been questioned in a capacity that falls between a witness and an accused person.

Blatter and Platini have been the most high-profile casualties in the unprecedented, wide-ranging scandal that has seen senior football executives suspended or fired, with 39 people indicted for corruption by the United States.

The saga has provoked endless discussion about the complicated relationship between Blatter and Platini, who previously were allies before the relationship turned publicly sour.

As the two men fight to preserve their football careers, the campaign to replace Blatter is heating up with the vote 10 days away.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino and the head of the Asian Football Confederation Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa are widely seen as frontrunners, ahead of Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale and France’s Jerome Champagne.

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