The ongoing FIFA saga took another turn today when FIFA’s Ethics Committee handed down 90-day suspensions for FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Vice President and UEFA President Michel Platini and several other officials.
Here is the list of the suspensions handed out today:
- Sepp Blatter, 90 days
- Michel Platini, 90 days
- Secretary General Jerome Valcke, 90 days
- Former vice president Chung Moon-joon, six years
“Today, in accordance with FIFA’s Code of Ethics, Joseph S. Blatter was relieved of all his duties as FIFA President following the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Independent Ethics Committee to provisionally ban him from all football activities on a national and international level,” the committee said in a statement. “Joseph S. Blatter, for the duration of the 90-day ban, is not allowed to represent FIFA in any capacity, act on the organisation’s behalf, or communicate to media or other stakeholders as a FIFA representative.”
Issa Hayatou, a vice-president on FIFA’s Executive Committee, will serve as acting president during Blatter’s suspension. Spain’s Angel Maria Villar, who is under investigation himself for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding scandal, will run UEFA during Platini’s suspension.
Not a man to take such things lying down, Blatter released a statement through his attorneys.
“President Blatter was disappointed that the Ethics Committee did not follow the Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Code, both of which provide for an opportunity to be heard,” the statement said. “The Ethics Committee based its decision on a misunderstanding of the actions of the attorney general in Switzerland, which has opened an investigation but brought no charge against the president. In fact, the prosecutors will be obliged by law to dismiss the case if their investigation, barely two weeks old, does not establish sufficient evidence. President Blatter looks forward to the opportunity to present evidence that will demonstrate that he did not engage in any misconduct, criminal or otherwise.”
I’d like to believe that this is the first step towards meaningful change for FIFA, but if past experience is any indicator, there really isn’t cause for that sort of optimism at this point.
Still, as a fan of the sport, I’m hoping that this is at least a small step in the right direction.