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Thursday, October 8, 2015, 23:08

FIFA suspends Blatter, Platini for 90 days

By Agencies
FIFA suspends Blatter, Platini for 90 days
Re-elected FIFA President Sepp Blatter gestures during news conference after an extraordinary Executive Committee meetin g in Zurich, Switzerland, in this May 30, 2015 file photo. (Photo / Agencies)

ZURICH — FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his possible successor, UEFA chief Michel Platini, have been provisionally suspended for 90 days by the global soccer body's ethics committee.

"During this time, the above individuals are banned from all football activities on a national and international level," FIFA's ethics committee said in a statement on Thursday.

The decision seemingly ends Platini's bid to succeed Blatter as FIFA president in the emergency election in February.

Blatter is disappointed that FIFA's ethics committee did not speak with him before provisionally suspending him, his lawyers said.

The committee also handed out a 90-day suspension to FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, who had already been put on leave by the soccer body, and banned former FIFA Vice-President Chung Mong-joon for six years and fined him 100,000 Swiss francs (US$103,000).

"The grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out by the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee," FIFA's ethics committee said in a statement on Thursday.

Swiss prosecutors last month opened a criminal investigation into Blatter over a Caribbean World Cup TV rights contract he signed, and a 2011 payment of 2 million francs to Platini, whose status the Swiss attorney general has described as being between a witness and an accused person.

Blatter has been president of FIFA since 1998 and has worked for the organisation for 40 years, starting as a technical director before becoming secretary general under former president Joao Havelange in 1981.

Valcke, Blatter's right-hand man for the past eight years, was suspended last month after allegations he was involved in a scheme to sell 2014 World Cup tickets at a marked-up price. Valcke denied the charges.

Issa Hayatou, the longtime head of the African soccer confederation who was reprimanded in 2011 by the International Olympic Committee in a FIFA kickbacks scandal, will take over as FIFA acting president.

The Cameroonian, who has a serious kidney illness that requires regular dialysis sessions, is currently in Yaounde and is expected to travel to Zurich immediately. He said Thursday that he would not be a candidate in Feb 26 election.

The interim leader of UEFA will be Spanish federation head Angel Maria Villar, who remains at risk of being sanctioned from the FIFA ethics committee in its investigation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests.

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